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Palm Beach Post (Florida)

Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who said harassment by teammates forced him to quit the team in late October, revealed in an interview with NBC that he didn't tell his position coaches the specifics of his struggles and didn't mention any incidents to head coach Joe Philbin.

Martin, who has accused left guard Richie Incognito of being his primary tormentor, said he didn't want to be labeled "a snitch."

"I didn't think it was my place to go above the heads of leaders on the offensive line or talk to my coaches about my teammates," he said in a taped interview shown Wednesday on the "Today" show.

Martin had not spoken publicly since leaving the Dolphins in late October. His claim that he was bullied by Incognito and others has been investigated by the NFL. The league report is expected after the Super Bowl.

Martin, 24, was in his second season in the NFL. He said his treatment went far beyond typical rookie hazing.

"It was extending past my rookie season and it got to the point where I realized things weren't changing," Martin said. "I had to remove myself from the situation for my own health."

He said verbal abuse from teammates included "comments of a racial nature, sexual comments related to my sister and my mother."

Martin was interviewed by NBC football commentator Tony Dungy, a former NFL head coach.

Dungy is a member of a committee appointed by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to look into the club's locker-room culture.

Dungy didn't ask Martin about some of his attorney's claims, including an allegation that Martin was physically attacked by teammates away from the practice facility.

Martin declined to put all the blame on Incognito. He said he was targeted by various teammates for reasons unknown to him.

"I worked hard to be friends with Richie Incognito and others," he said. "I thought it was important to build these friendships with your teammates. So I turned the microscope back on myself and said, 'What am I doing wrong to be treated like this?'~HOA~128~128~"

After Martin left the team and Incognito was suspended, Incognito did his own TV interview and showed text messages from Martin that also included vulgar language.

Martin said in the NBC interview, "I was trying with all my being to do whatever I could to be a member of this culture and of the offensive line."

He said he hasn't spoken to anyone from the Dolphins since leaving the team but that he wants to play in the NFL again.

"I understand opportunities in the NFL are fleeting," he said. "I'm hopeful that I get another opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it because it's what I love to do.

"I'd be ready to play on Sunday if my team was in the Super Bowl."

Dungy later defended Martin.

"Jonathan is very much like a lot of players I coached," Dungy said. "He's intelligent, he's passionate, and I didn't see him as any different.

"I listened to some of the voice mails and saw the text messages and it was racial, personal, attacking his family. It was a tough, tough situation. I couldn't picture anything like this going on in a locker room I was involved with."

Ross said Tuesday that he doesn't expect Incognito -- who was suspended in November and missed the rest of the season -- or Martin to return to the Dolphins.

Dungy thinks Martin will be able to join another team.

"I talked to three general managers that I know really well," Dungy said. "They all said he's a good player, he'll get an opportunity. But they're all afraid of the scrutiny that comes with it. He has to get into the right environment and not a place like the Miami locker room."

The committee appointed by Ross to look into the club's locker-room issues hasn't met yet. The group, which also includes Dan Marino, Don Shula and Jason Taylor, had planned to meet after the NFL report is issued, a Dolphins spokesman said.

aabramson@pbpost.com Twitter: @abramsonpbp

 

January 30, 2014

 

 
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