What You Need to Know About the Miami Dolphins Bullying Incident

Josh Usiskin, Contributing Writer

Over the past week, virtually every major national news outlet has run stories detailing allegations of bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room. The alleged bully is right guard, Richie Incognito, who is in his eighth season in the National Football League (NFL) and fourth season with the Miami Dolphins. The victim is right tackle, Jonathon Martin, who is in his second season in the National Football League. Both  were with the Miami Dolphins. Incognito and Martin are both members of the offensive line unit for the Miami Dolphins, which means they spend a considerable amount of time together, and apparently for Martin and Incognito, this is a bad thing. The bullying incidents were brought to light when Martin left the team on Monday, October 28th after an incident in the cafeteria, in which Martin sat down at the table where his fellow offensive linemen were, and they all stood up and walked away. Martin is not expected to return to the Dolphins this year, but might return next season, to resume his four-year contract.

Martin’s departure from the team brought to light many other incidents of bullying that took place between Incognito and Martin. Earlier in the year, Incognito allegedly forced Martin to pay $15,000 for a trip to Las Vegas that most Miami Dolphins linemen went on except Martin . Martin originally paid for the trip and then wanted his money back when he decided to not attend. Martin also mentioned that when he was a rookie, he and his fellow rookies all contributed to pay a total of $30,000 for a team dinner. However, the most shocking occurrence in this bullying incident was a voicemail that Incognito sent Martin. In this voicemail Incognito used a racial slur and threatened Martin’s life. These incidents have caused the Miami Dolphins to suspend Incognito. It is almost guaranteed that Incognito will not be reinstated on the Dolphins’ roster and odds are that he will not find himself on any NFL team anytime soon.

While most people see Incognito as the villain in this situation, it is not that clear cut. It is true that Incognito has built a reputation as a dirty player and a trouble maker throughout his football career at the University of Nebraska, and in the NFL (with the Saint Louis Rams). However, in the four years Incognito has been with the Miami Dolphins, he managed to stay out of trouble, until this incident. All of the Miami Dolphins players who spoke to the media seemed to defend Incognito, saying that the voicemail he sent Martin was in jest, and Martin just laughed it off. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill even asserted, “If you asked John [Martin] two weeks ago who his best friend on the team was he would say Richie [Incognito].”  Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Tyson Clabo even blamed Martin for not standing up for himself, or bringing the issue up to the team leaders. Still, many familiar with the situation say that Martin was pressured into being friends with Richie and their friendship was not genuine. The coaches have also come under fire for the incident, but head coach Joe Philbin assured the media he was unaware of the bullying incident and will do his best to maintain a safe playing environment in the future. Many NFL sources believe that either Philbin or general manager Jeff Ireland will be fired. Incognito, Martin, or the Dolphins organization, the jury is still out on whom to blame for the incidents, but the whole franchise is looking forward to putting the situation behind it and focusing on football.