Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
NFL investigator Ted Wells’ report on allegations of bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room has found that linemen Richie Incognito, John Jerry, and Mike Pouncey engaged in a “pattern of harassment” of Jonathan Martin, a young offensive lineman, and an assistant trainer.
The report, which was released Friday morning, described Incognito as “the main instigator” and Jerry and Pouncey as players who “tended to follow Incognito’s lead.”
Wells said he was influenced by a number of factors in reaching his conclusion, including the “flagrantly inappropriate treatment” of the assistant trainer and the younger Dolphins lineman; Incognito’s entries in a notebook used to keep track of fines the offensive linemen imposed on each other, which included a $200 fine against himself for “breaking Jmart”; and text messages Incognito sent to Pouncey and another lineman pleading with them to destroy the fine book after Martin left the team.
“We view Incognito’s entries in the fine book about ‘breaking Jmart’ and his attempt to destroy the fine book — which was unsuccessful — as evidence demonstrating his awareness that he had engaged in improper conduct toward Martin,” the report said.
Wells also flatly rejected Incognito’s assertion that Martin made up claims of harassment after leaving the team.
A number of details, some not reported previously, emerged from Wells’ 144-page report.
Incognito directed a number of racist taunts at Martin, calling him a “half-nigger piece of shit” in an April 6, 2013 voicemail. Martin also said Incognito called him a “nigger” on at least one other occasion. Incognito routinely “routinely used other
racially derogatory language,” the report says.
Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey made “repeated graphic sexual remarks” about Martin’s sister, and Jerry and Pouncey made “similar sexually explicit jeers” about Martin’s mother.
The assistant trainer, who was born in Japan and attended university there
through 2001 before emigrating to the United States, also was a target of the abuse.
Nate Garner, a Dolphins lineman, told Wells that “he believed that he was probably treated worse than Martin, and he told Martin, in an apparent effort to commiserate with him, that he had been through similar treatment.” Incognito seemed to confirm this in a text message exchange with former Miami lineman Jake Long.
Another Dolphins lineman — not Nate Garner — who wasn’t identified in the report, was “repeatedly called a ‘faggot’ and subjected to other homophobic invective.” Incognito said the players didn’t believe the player was gay, but that he was the subject of those taunts “every day from everybody, high frequency.”
Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner, who was apparently aware of the harassment of the younger lineman, pressured Martin — who was hospitalized after leaving the team — to release a statement that would clear Incognito and other players.
When Incognito signed with the Dolphins in 2010, he was made to sign a one-year contract that included a “character clause” that gave the Dolphins the right to release him in the event of misconduct. Wells and his investigators were told Incognito was the only Dolphin required to agree to such a term.
The Dolphins later fined Incognito a total of $55,000 for two incidents stemming from a team-sponsored charity golf tournament within the span of less than 24 hours, including “allegedly molest(ing) a female volunteer.”
Wells found no evidence that Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin or that anyone in the team’s front office was aware of the harassment.
After Martin had left the team, Martin and Incognito exchanged a series of text messages that Incognito leaked — within hours — to an NFL.com reporter.
The NFL issued a statement following the report’s release:
So did the Dolphins:
And the NFL Players’ Association also made a statement: “We have received the report on workplace conditions in Miami. We will review the findings closely, confer with our players and all relevant parties involved.”
Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 30 and Incognito was suspended on Nov. 3 — missing the final eight games of the season — while the NFL conducted its investigation. His suspension ended days after the Super Bowl as part of an administrative move agreed upon by all involved parties.
Two days ago, Incognito accused Martin of “betrayal” and said, “the truth is going to bury you and your entire ‘camp’. You could have told the truth the entire time” in a Twitter rant. It was a sharp reversal from Incognito’s supportive tweets about Martin from little more than a week ago, when the team announced the conclusion of Incognito’s suspension.
His final Tweet of the rant was retweeted more than 2,200 times:
The report can be found at http://www.nfldolphinsreport.com/.
UPDATE, Feb. 14, 4 p.m. ET: Incognito’s attorney tells TMZ that Wells’ report is “replete with errors.”