Former Dolphin Lydon Murtha: Richie Incognito has been more kind to Jonathan Martin than any other player
Former NFL offensive lineman Lydon Murtha wrote a column for The Monday Morning Quarterback this week addressing the bullying scandal surrounding his former team, the Miami Dolphins. Murtha began his narrative by pointing out that he considers both Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito to be his friends, insisting he was not taking sides. He then went on to talk about his experiences sharing a locker room with them.
The entire piece is worth a read. It certainly seems like Murtha was defending Incognito, though he wrote that he is only sharing the “truth.” Part of that truth, he claims, is that Incognito was kind to Martin and that the two were “close friends.”
“Martin was expected to play left tackle beside Incognito at guard from the start, so Incognito took him under his wing,” Murtha wrote. “They were close friends by all appearances. Martin had a tendency to tank when things would get difficult in practice, and Incognito would lift him up. He’d say, there’s always tomorrow. Richie has been more kind to Martin than any other player.”
Murtha added that the only mistake Incognito made with his infamous voicemail was his use of the N-word, but said he is certain the message came from a “place of humor.” He also claimed Martin, whom he described as a loner, was never forced to pay for a trip to Las Vegas for his teammates. Rather, Martin had committed to joining them on the trip — which was already paid for — and backed out. Murtha said he was simply asked to pay his share, which he did.
“I don’t believe Richie Incognito bullied Jonathan Martin,” he said. “I never saw Martin singled out, excluded from anything, or treated any differently than the rest of us. We’d have dinners and the occasional night out, and everyone was invited. He was never told he can’t be a part of this. It was the exact opposite. But when he came out, he was very standoffish. That’s why the coaches told the leaders, bring him out of his shell. Figure him out a little bit.
“That’s where Incognito ran into a problem. Personally, I know when a guy can’t handle razzing. You can tell that some guys just aren’t built for it. Incognito doesn’t have that filter.”
It should be noted that not all of Incognito’s former teammates agree that he is a kind-hearted person. Former Dolphins kicker Josh Brown described him as a “tormented soul” earlier this week. Murtha essentially admitted that the coaches instructed players to toughen Martin up, but he brushed it off as common practice. Murtha also alluded to the macho culture of the NFL, like many have done before him.
“You are taught to be an aggressive person, and you typically do not make it to the NFL if you are a passive person,” he wrote. “There are a few, but it’s very hard. Playing football is a man’s job, and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out. It’s the leaders’ job on the team to take care of it.”
Again, the entire piece is worth a read for those of you who have been following the saga. Murtha said multiple times that Incognito is not a racist, which is an assertion Ricky Williams agreed with. That being said, part of being an adult is knowing when to stop. It sounds like Incognito lacks that basic skill.