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NFL investigator releases report, criticizes Richie Incognito, other Dolphins linemen for harassment of Jonathan Martin

02.14.14 at 11:01 am ET
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Richie Incognito

Richie Incognito

The independent investigator hired by the NFL to examine the situation in the Dolphins locker room that apparently led to the October departure of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin released his report Friday, and he criticizes a trio of veteran offensive linemen for their treatment of Martin, a fellow young player and an assistant trainer.

“The Report concludes that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer,” Wells wrote in a statement.

“The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.

“The Report rejects any suggestion that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team. Contemporaneous text messages that Martin sent to his parents and others months before he left the Dolphins — €”which have never before been made public — €”corroborate his account that the persistent harassment by his teammates caused him significant emotional distress.

“The Report concludes that the harassment by Martin’s teammates was a contributing factor in his decision to leave the team, but also finds that Martin’s teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury.”

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who recently said he does not expect either player to return to the team next season, said in a statement that he’s committed to providing a safe working environment.

“We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings,” Ross said. “When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.”

Incognito was suspended Nov. 3 through the end of the NFL season and now is an unrestricted free agent. He blasted Martin and his camp on Twitter on Wednesday, claiming that Martin was not telling the truth about the alleged bullying and its affect on him.

Wells noted in his report that “Martin developed an odd but seemingly close relationship with Incognito. Not only did both linemen report that they enjoyed socializing together, the evidence also shows that they often communicated in a vulgar manner. Incognito contends that the conduct about which Martin complains was part of locker room banter meant in good fun and that Martin was a willing and active participant in verbal sparring, never letting on that he was hurt by it. Martin claims that at times he participated in off-color joking with Incognito and others in an attempt to fit in, with the hope of reducing the treatment he found offensive. According to our consulting expert, a psychologist who focuses on matters of workplace conduct, such a reaction is consistent with the behavior of a victim of abusive treatment.”

Read More: Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, Stephen Ross, Ted Wells