An investigation into harassment allegations made by former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has uncovered some troubling truths about the potentially dangerous bullying culture in the NFL’s locker rooms.
In November, Martin made headlines after having an “emotional breakdown” over a series of threatening texts, voicemails, and offensive hazing rituals he endured mostly at the hands of teammate Richie Incognito. Though initial reports suggested none of Martin’s harassment included the use of homophobic slurs, it led many to wonder about the potential struggle of an LGBT athlete in the locker room next season with Michael Sam about to find out.
An independent investigation was launched by the NFL immediately following Martin’s claims. The findings were announced today by defense lawyer Ted Wells, who concluded that three Miami Dolphins linemen including Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, “engaged in a pattern of harassment” that caused “significant emotional distress” and even led Martin to contemplate suicide. Incognito was labeled as the main instigator.
The report also found that homophobic harassment was directed toward another “young offensive lineman,” who has gone unnamed.
Deadspin reports the homophobic sexual harassment was condoned by coach Jim Turner, who allegedly also took part in the taunting :
Martin and other witnesses informed us that Player A was repeatedly called a “faggot” and subjected to other homophobic invective. Incognito stated that Player A, although not actually believed to be gay, was subject to these taunts repeatedly and persistently—he got it “every day from everybody, high frequency.” According to Incognito, Player A was a “good kid” and he “took it well,” never asking his teammates to stop.
Incognito and others acknowledged that Player A was routinely touched by Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey in a mockingly suggestive manner, including on his rear end, while being taunted about his supposed homosexuality. Incognito specifically admitted that he would grab Player A and ask for a hug as part of this “joke.”
Martin said that on one occasion, Pouncey physically restrained Player A and, in full view of other players, jokingly told Jerry to “come get some pussy,” and that Jerry responded by touching Player A’s buttocks in a way that simulated anal penetration. Pouncey and Jerry both denied this allegation. Given the seriousness of this allegation and the conflicting recollections, we decline to make any findings about this particular alleged incident.
The evidence shows that [Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner] overheard and participated in this behavior toward Player A. During the 2012 Christmas season, Coach Turner gave all of the offensive linemen gift bags that included a variety of stocking stuffers. In each gift bag except for Player A’s, Turner included a female “blow-up” doll; Player A’s bag included a male doll.
The report also claims that nobody “intended to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury,” an archaic excuse most often used by playground bullies who don’t understand that words actually do hurt.
Do you think the NFL has a handle on locker room bullies? Will this news shed light on the situation and make the environment safer for a future out player?
I think a sensitivity traingings program for all major sports leagues is in order.
sorry, sensitivity trainings program
I am SHOCKED I tell you, look at my face and you can see how shocked I am ::::Blank Look::::::::
Is the NFL going to do anything about it or just have some ‘sensitivity training’ that won’t mean anything to these neat-heads. They obviously don’t understand words, so they need something to get their attention.
Jim Turner and the 3 players involved in this harrassment should have been fired long ago.
The Miami Dolphins need a special display in the NFL Hall of Fame called “NFL Coaches and Players We Would Like to Stomp into the Ground.”
Jackass Low-IQ… Jocks! Says it all!
@robirob: As long as it includes a frontal lobotomy, I’m all for it. these boys are too stupid for re-training or re-education. At this point in their lives, if they don’t know social etiquette, it’s just a downhill battle for them.
Why does anyone even watch American, footballs??.
Those who took part in the harassment should be fired and sued. Any other workplace that would be the consequences for an adult undertaking such behavior against another employee. If you cannot be an adult at the workplace, you should be fired by the organization.
@Mezaien: I’m sure you’re aware that these mongoloid beings who are so enamored with major sports don’t seem to do well at anything else! This is the lowest common denominator they can muster and are almost at the point of having to be hand-fed, because they have no social skills whatsoever. They are to be pitied, they are to be shunned.
Difficult to claim harassment when the alleged victims are engaging in the behavior.
Interesting they left out the part where Incognito threatened to rape Martin’s sister.Incognito sounds genuinely disturbed and potentially dangerous.
Incognito was a Nebraska Cornhusker (like Suh), so this bad behavior must start there.
@Cam: me too
@hephaestion: You think the Dolphins are any different from the 31 other teams, or the dozens of teams in the NBA, MLB and NHL?
So professional athletes making millions of dollars can’t act professional towards their coworkers? And the professionally paid professional coaches allowed and sometimes participated in these unprofessional acts towards other athletes. And the professional team managers and professional millionaire team owners looked the other way while their professionals act like a bunch of drunk college fraternity bullies. How professional.
Does the NFL have the power to impose punishments on players as a result of their actions?
For example, the Football Association here in the UK can enforce bans and fines against players or clubs if they conduct themselves illegally or irresponsibly – can the NFL do this?
These two guys are arguing like two queens on christopher st lol
Comments are closed.