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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Dolphins teammates defend Richie Incognito, question Jonathan Martin

11.07.13 at 8:13 am ET

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NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NFL: Redskins at Vikings, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Clippers at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College football: Oklahoma at Baylor, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
College fotoball: Troy at Louisiana-Lafayette, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Oregon at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS playoffs: Galaxy at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLS playoffs: Sounders at Timbers, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Swansea City at Kuban, noon (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Sheriff at Tottenham, 3 p.m. (FS1)


‘€¢ Dolphins players rallied around suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito on Wednesday and questioned Jonathan Martin, who left the team after allegedly being harassed.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this,” offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said of Martin, who reportedly checked into a hospital. “And the only person who knows why, his name is Jonathan Martin.”

Dolphins players insisted Martin and Incognito were friends and that there was no indication Martin, a second-year player from Stanford, felt threatened by the veteran with a long history of behavioral issues.

“It’s tough for me, because you can’t help a situation that you didn’t know existed — that no one on this team knew existed,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We have a bunch of good guys in this locker room. To be put in a situation where everyone’s attacking the locker room saying it’s such a bad place, such a bad culture, no leadership to stand up and stop the situation — no one knew there was a situation to be stopped.”

Added Tannehill: “If you had asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito. The first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan.”

Incognito left a voicemail for Martin in the offseason that included racially offensive language and physical threats. Guard John Jerry indicated it was taken out of context and overblown.

“I would have just laughed it off,” Jerry said. “I know the type of person he is, and I know he doesn’t mean it that way. Everybody’s got friends that when you’re out, they say those type of things. It’s never made a big deal.”

Added Tannehill: “Does he like to give guys a hard time? Yes. Does he like to pester guys and have fun? Yes. But he brought a lot of laughter to this locker room, he brought a lot of cohesiveness to this locker room and he was the best teammate that I could ask for.”

‘€¢ Former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice gave his first television interview since losing his job after video surfaced of him abusing players, and he insists that he’s a changed man.

“I won’t be perfect moving forward, but I’ve changed,” he told ABC’s “20/20″ in an interview that’s set to air Friday night. “Having that taken away, your dream job ‘€¦ and having it done in such a visible way ‘€¦ and hurting the people closest to me … it changes a person.”

Added Rice: “That was a hard lesson learned, that’s for sure. There is going to be a different message. There is going to be a different coach Rice.”

Rice, 44, was seen on the video swearing at players, pushing them and throwing balls at their heads.

“My first reaction when I saw the tape was one of embarrassment, of shock, of sadness,” Rice said.

He said he’s reached out to apologize to his former players.

“You know, whether it was texting, whether it was calling, whether it was handwritten letters, whether it’s email, they don’t deserve this, and especially the first year’s team,” he said. “Even though we were out-manned every single night, they really, really fought hard for me ‘€¦ and they’re almost embarrassed about that fact now. They’re embarrassed about being a Rutgers basketball player.”

However, some former players and their families aren’t in a forgiving mood.

Said forward Wally Judge: “I won’t be tuning in.”

‘€¢ The Providence College basketball team, set to open its season Friday night at home against Boston College, will be without highly regarded freshmen Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock after they were suspended indefinitely from game action for “not upholding their responsibilities at student-athletes.”

“We hold our student-athletes to very high standards,” coach Ed Cooley said in a statement. “We are disappointed in some of the choices that Brandon and Rodney have made.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Nov. 7, 1950, which Red Sox player beat out Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford to be named American League Rookie of the Year?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Winning’€™s more fun than losing. But at the same time, I think we played two pretty-good games back to back, so that’€™s the most positive thing moving forward. And hopefully we feel better about ourselves as we move forward.” Celtics coach Brad Stevens, after recording his first NBA win in Wednesday’s victory over the Jazz

STAT OF THE DAY: 6 — Silver Slugger Awards won by Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who was named the 2013 winner Wednesday

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware — the player who suffered the gruesome leg injury in last season’s NCAA tournament — made a surprisingly early return to the court Wednesday night and hit his first shot in an exhibition game against Pikeville.

Kentucky wide receiver Alex Montgomery was diagnosed with a torn ACL, an injury he suffered celebrating a touchdown against Alabama State.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Johnny Rivers was born on this day in 1942.

Read More: Jonathan Martin, Kevin Ware, Mike Rice, Richie Incognito