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Former Dolphin Lydon Murtha: Richie Incognito has been more kind to Jonathan Martin than any other player

Richie IncognitoFormer 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.

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Jeff Ireland reportedly advised Jonathan Martin to punch Richie Incognito

Jeff IrelandMiami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland suggested to Jonathan Martin’s agent that the second-year lineman should punch teammate Richie Incognito in response to being harassed, according to a report.

Pro Football Talk says that Martin’s agent, Rick Smith, called Ireland to complain about the way Incognito had been treating his client prior to Martin walking out on the team on Oct. 28. Ireland supposedly suggested that Martin physically confront Incognito and “punch” him.

Ireland’s suggestion clearly went against what Smith and Martin thought was the bright thing to do. Believing that the Dolphins were not going to handle the situation in a way that they thought was best, Martin walked out on the team.

Ireland’s suggestion that Martin respond to the harassment by fighting Incognito is no different from how many others have viewed the situation. Current lineman Tyson Clabo seemed to suggest the same thing when he said Martin should have stood up and been a man about it.

Whose side you’re on in this issue likely comes down to how you believe is the best way to respond to harassment/bullying. Though the NFL is a place where physical and mental toughness is needed, I fully believe you can be an effective player on the field without having to resort to fighting a teammate in the locker room in order to get that player off your back.

If it turns out that Ireland recommended Martin punch Incognito, there is little doubt he’ll lose his job. If that came true, it would be long overdue for many Dolphins fans who have protested against him. Keep in mind this is the same person who asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute.

And if it turns out that a Dolphins coach encouraged Incognito to call Martin to get him with the program, you could be looking at a complete change of leadership in Miami across the board.

Tyson Clabo: Jonathan Martin should stand up and be a man

Tyson ClaboMiami Dolphins offensive lineman Tyson Clabo doesn’t feel like teammate Jonathan Martin handled his issues with Richie Incognito the right way.

Clabo, who signed with the team in May, thinks Martin should have stood up to Incognito rather than walk away from the team and allege mistreatment.

“I think that if you have a problem with somebody — a legitimate problem with somebody — you should say, ‘hey, I have a problem with this,’ and stand up and be a man,” Clabo told the media on Wednesday.

Clabo also can’t figure out Martin’s motivation for leaving the team and making accusations against Incognito and the Dolphins.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this. The only person who knows why is Jonathan Martin.”

Martin certainly has his share of supporters, but so does Incognito. Most of the Dolphins players who spoke out on Wednesday seemed to back their veteran leader, who has been suspended by the team indefinitely since Sunday night.

Many people feel that the best way to confront a bully is to stand up to one. They feel even stronger about that notion when it comes to a physical sport like football where players generally have to be physically and mentally tough to survive.

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Mike Pouncey told Cris Carter Jonathan Martin considered quitting during rookie season

Jonathan MartinJonathan Martin abruptly departed the Miami Dolphins last week, but the idea may have been in his mind for a while.

We have previously heard that Martin has had “emotional issues” since his rookie season, and Dolphins center and leadership council member, Mike Pouncey, says as a rookie, Martin was having second thoughts about playing pro football.

Per The Miami Herald, Pouncey told Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Cris Carter that Martin considered quitting football during his rookie season.

Here’s what Pouncey told Carter, per The Herald:

Pouncey told Carter, the Hall of Famer later relayed, that Martin had considered quitting football long before leaving the team.

Carter said Pouncey told him: “There were times he struggled as a rookie and contemplated, ‘Am I cut out for this?’ ”

That seems to mesh with what Martin told Richie Incognito over text. Martin reportedly told Incognito that the football culture and locker room got to him, leading him to leave.

Among other issues, it sure seems like Martin may not have fit in in the NFL — or at least with the Dolphins — and came to that realization.

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Brian Hartline: Jonathan Martin laughed at voicemail

Brian HartlineSeveral 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.”

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Warren Sapp: Richie Incognito called me the N-word during game

Warren SappAs the debate rages on over whether or not Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito is racist, Warren Sapp has been kind enough to share a personal story about a time he and Incognito faced one another. Sapp is always happy to deflect attention onto himself, but that’s a story for another day.

During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” Wednesday, Sapp claimed Incognito once called him the N-word during a game.

“I beat him up so many times it don’t make sense,” Sapp said of facing Incognito. “One time he kicked me in a game and called me the N-word. I looked at him and said, ‘Oh, you want me to punch you in the mouth so they kick me out of the game.’ I said, ‘I got a better plan for you. I’m gonna beat your quarterback up so they cut your ass.’

“He kicked me and called me the N-word. I said, ‘Really? That’s all you got (laughing).’”

Sapp was then asked if the exchange bothered him.

“No, come on,” he replied. “That’s a term of endearment where I’m from. Come on, in a football game? He only wants to get me kicked out. He don’t wanna fight because the only thing he’d have to do is call me after the football game. Just come over to the locker room and say it after the game.”

Sapp went on to explain that calling people names and hitting below the belt — figuratively speaking — is normal during a game. He admitted that he has done plenty of it, but he said the surprising thing about Incognito’s situation with Jonathan Martin is that they are teammates.

“Sometimes you say stuff to a guy during games that can really throw them off,” he said. “You normally don’t do it to your own teammate. Offensive lineman are like cattle. They go in groups. There’s never one. There’s always two or three. … If an offensive line alienates one of their own, that’s something in a football environment that I have never seen.”

It doesn’t sound like Sapp was accusing Incognito of being racist. Rather, he was trying to highlight that he acts like a d-bag. We really didn’t need any evidence aside from this video to realize that. Plus, Incognito is an honorary black guy. He’s allowed to use the N-word.

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

Dolphins players reportedly felt Richie Incognito was an ‘honorary’ black man, Jonathan Martin was not

Richie IncognitoWhile a number of people were appalled that Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito used racially-charged language in the voicemail he allegedly left Jonathan Martin, several of his current and former teammates do not seem bothered by that aspect of the ongoing saga. In fact, one former Dolphin reportedly told the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero that Incognito was viewed by his teammates as an ‘honorary’ black man.

“Richie is honorary,” the player told Salguero on Wednesday. “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.”

If that sounds puzzling, consider this. Martin, who is bi-racial, supposedly is considered less black than Incognito. Salguero added that “multiple people” told him Martin was not accepted by the black players in the way that Incognito was. Martin is Stanford-educated and comes from a family filled with Ivy League graduates. According to one former Dolphins employee, his background led to teammates viewing him as “soft.”

That theory could help explain why several African-American players who are currently playing for Miami have defended Incognito, despite his alleged use of the term “half-n***er” in the infamous voicemail.

“I don’t have a problem with Richie,” Mike Wallace said this week. “I love Richie.”

Cornerback Brent Grimes and tight end Michael Egnew both stated rather emphatically that Incognito is not a racist. On Tuesday, Ricky Williams — another former teammate of Incognito’s who is also black — said there is no way Incognito can be racist.

As you can see, this story has taken on a life of its own. We’ve gone from a player being bullied a white guy being viewed as an “honorary black guy.” And underneath it all, we still have a player who was allegedly threatened and hazed to the point where he left the team. It’s no wonder people are having trouble understanding the dynamics of it all.

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