At the behest of Ted Wells, who is conducting an independent investigation of the alleged bullying situation involving Miami guard Richie Incognito and Martin, the Dolphins have agreed to postpone the meeting team owner Stephen Ross was planning to have Wednesday with Martin.
“Out of deference to the process, we will cooperate with their request,” the Dolphins said in a written statement. “We look forward to meeting with Jonathan as soon as possible.”
Incognito, who sent racially charged and threatening voice and text messages to Martin, has been suspended indefinitely by the league. Martin, who walked away from the team, has been placed on the non-football injury list.
There are a couple aspects of this situation that largely have been overlooked.
First, Martin told Incognito in a text message that he didn’t intend for anyone to find out about the messages. Incognito revealed that in his interview with Fox’s Jay Glazer.
That suggests that someone else turned the messages over to the NFL, presumably someone close enough to Martin to have access to his phone.
While that doesn’t change the seriousness of the messages, it does mitigate some of the criticism Martin has faced for not directly confronting Incognito and instead going public with the messages.
Also, the Dolphins were the focus of the popular HBO training camp documentary series “Hard Knocks” in 2012, Martin’s rookie year. Therefore, the NFL has what could potentially be a treasure trove of evidence — aired and unaired — revealing whether there was or wasn’t bullying going on in that locker room.
The outside investigation is expected to take two weeks or more. It may be instructive to note that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has never been a fence-sitter or sheepish about making hard and sometimes unpopular decisions he feels are in the best interest of the NFL.
He has handed out significant suspensions to players such as Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth, Ben Roethlisberger and others, and in the Bountygate case suspended Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and Coach Sean Payton for an entire season. New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ indefinite suspension lasted a season, too.
That doesn’t bode well for Incognito, who already had a checkered past in college and in the league. After the investigation is completed, if Goodell believes Incognito has damaged the image of the NFL and/or violated the league’s personal-conduct policy, the punishment will probably be severe.