Several Miami Dolphins players came to Richie Incognito’s defense when they had their opportunity to speak to the media on Wednesday. Wide receiver Brian Hartline defended the infamous Incognito voicemail to Jonathan Martin, saying the message needed more context and that Martin didn’t take the threats seriously. In fact, Hartline says Martin laughed at the message at one point.
“This is the same guy that was laughing about this voice mail at one point in time, first of all,” Hartline said of Martin, via Around the League. “Second of all, I believe that if you look through the whole voice mail, there’s some things said that you probably shouldn’t say in general, friends or not friends. But I know for a fact, that I’ve said things to my friends that I kind of wish I’ve never said to, either.”
Hartline also was upset that the team and coaches were the last ones to say their piece about the situation because of the ongoing investigation. He turned the tables, accusing the media of bullying them.
“They’re attacking our coach. They’re attacking the values of the rest of the people in this locker room, and they have the mic last,” Hartline said. “I mean, we were at a point where we weren’t told to say anything. We weren’t going to talk. There was an investigation, plain and simple. You guys expected that.
“And now we’re able to say our opinion and really protect ourselves from being bullied from you guys, because we weren’t talking. We weren’t fighting back. No one said a word. You had no comments from Richie, had no comments from us … We’re kind of tired of it. We’re just going to do our point, and you guys can judge, but honestly, it caught us all off-guard, and it’s a shame it happened.”
The good news is we’re starting to hear two sides to the story. One side has portrayed Incognito as a bully who made Martin “genuinely scared.” The other side is Incognito’s teammates, who are upset with Martin for creating this situation and defending the veteran leader instead of the young player who left the team.
As we usually say, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Maybe Martin was laughing at the voicemail and friends with Incognito because he was trying to fit in with his teammates despite feeling uncomfortable around them. That’s often how it is. And maybe Martin had had enough and decided he wasn’t going to accept it any longer and that’s why he suddenly walked away. Maybe Martin suddenly got tired of acting like he was OK with things when he really wasn’t all along.
Full Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin history:
Jonathan Martin reportedly went AWOL after cafeteria prank
Jonathan Martin reportedly called ‘Big Weirdo,’ bullied by teammates
Richie Incognito said to be one of Jonathan Martin’s main tormenters
Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito text message conversation
Jonathan Martin reportedly left Dolphins because of emotional issues, not bullying
Jonathan Martin ‘genuinely scared’ of what Richie Incognito might do to him
Richie Incognito suspended indefinitely by Dolphins
Richie Incognito reportedly told Jonathan Martin ‘I’ll kill you’ in racially charged voicemail
Report: Richie Incognito will never play for Dolphins again
Video: Richie Incognito dropped N-bomb during fit of rage at a bar
Antrel Rolle: Jonathan Martin is a ‘grown-ass man,’ just as much to blame as Incognito
Dolphins coaches reportedly asked Richie Incognito to toughen up Jonathan Martin
Richie Incognito makes first comments, says ‘this will pass’
Dolphins players reportedly felt Richie Incognito was ‘honorary’ black man