The war of words, texts and voice messages that fuel the Miami Dolphins bullying saga embarked on another round this week as Jonathan Martin spoke for the second time since leaving the Dolphins in late October.
During an exclusive interview with NBC Martin continued to paint former teammate Richie Incognito as a bully, and claimed Dolphins coaches knew he was having issues with teammates.
But Incognito's lawyer, Mark Schamel, took offense to Martin's characterization of his relationship with Incognito, and released the following statement:
"The coarse and unacceptable comments and text messages that were sent to Jonathan Martin were of the same poor taste as those sent by him. All of these communications were provided to Ted Wells and the NFL investigation. What they show is banter between friends, not bullying. Jonathan Martin sent text messages to Richie Incognito which included threats to send someone over to Richie Incognito’s home with a “tranquilizer gun and sandpaper condoms” to homosexually rape him. Jonathan Martin sent another that said he would “kill (Richies’s) whole family.” There was another where Jonathan Martin indicated he would ejaculate in Richie’s face.
Richie Incognito has owned his inappropriate comments, despite the fact that they were made in jest, and it is time for Jonathan Martin to do the same. Jonathan Martin also raised concerns with Richie Incognito that he was not playing well, about how upset he was at being ranked by Pro Football Focus, as among the worst lineman in the NFL, about his poor performance on the field, his demotion to right tackle and how he was concerned about what the outcome might be for his missing team meetings and, about how he felt his job was at risk. It was only after sharing these concerns, and Martin’s abandonment of the team, that the bullying allegations were raised. Rather than deal with his poor on field performance and myriad other issues, Martin is now hiding behind false allegations. The result undermines the real problems of bullying and demeans what is a very real problem for many young people.
With respect to Martin’s claim that had no “tools” to deal with the non-existent bullying, the truth is just the opposite. Jonathan Martin is a professional athlete with millions of dollars, an agent, a lawyer, a union representative, a player personnel advocate, a mother who specializes in labor law, and his teammates and friends. Jonathan Martin had more support and love around him than almost any other person in the world. He never once indicated he was uncomfortable with the interactions between teammates and friends. Rather, Jonathan Martin was a full participant, who at times led some of the exact same pranks and gags and text and email exchanges he now claims, “crossed the line.”