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Dolphins suspend Richie Incognito amid NFL investigation over Jonathan Martin incident

Posted by Erik Frenz  November 4, 2013 07:00 AM

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The Miami Dolphins announced on Sunday night they have suspended guard Richie Incognito indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

Incognito was the primary individual being named in reports over the reported harassment of left tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team on Oct. 29 to be with his family.

Here is the full statement from the Dolphins:

The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team. We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time. As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter.

This announcement came less than 15 hours after the team had issued another statement, saying that the "notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally."

A few hours later, they issued another statement to say that they had been contacted by Martin's representation about allegations of player misconduct, and added, "as an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."

Accountability and respect. There's no grey area with regard to those words, but what will the truth reveal?

There are little clues throughout the Internet as to what has transpired, but no one knows for sure quite like Incognito and Martin -- and even they probably have different views on the story.

A report on Sunday from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen indicates that the matter was under review, and early signs point to Incognito as a prime suspect in multiple incidents of harassment, apparently not exclusive to Martin.

As of Sunday, Martin has not filed a formal complaint with the Dolphins or the NFL because he fears retribution from Incognito, but fear of Incognito has also driven other actions from Martin, according to the report.

Sources told ESPN that one of the significant allegations being reviewed is that Incognito...got Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of Dolphins last summer, even though Martin preferred not to travel with the group. Rather than go, Martin simply gave Incognito the $15,000, sources told ESPN, fearing the consequences if he did not hand over the money.

Incognito took to Twitter on Sunday to say that he wanted his name cleared, saying that the reports were all speculative and slander.

Earlier in the week, Jeff Darlington of NFL Network relayed some text messages between Incognito and Martin, which seemed to indicate some passivity and understanding on behalf of Martin.

The latest reported contact between the two, however, paints a much grimmer picture of the relationship between the two offensive linemen.

Schefter's latest tweets outline racially charged comments and threats from Incognito directed at Martin and his family. Martin turned over to the league and the Dolphins a voicemail which Incognito left for Martin in April 2013, after Martin's rookie season.

Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of (expletive)...I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) (expletive) in your (expl) mouth...(I'm going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I'm going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter). ...(Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you.

If true, it looks like this situation is stretching well beyond "conduct detrimental to the team" and is now bordering on criminal activity.

For now, the Dolphins have a tricky decision on their hands. They have already suspended Incognito, and would probably wait until having all the information before taking any conclusive action as to his status on the team.

However, by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, the Dolphins must decide whether to carry Martin on the roster, or to list him with a non-football illness, which would make him no longer a member of the active roster. There is almost no chance that Martin would return to the team by that point, so the Dolphins will have to continue to pay him to be away from the team, or toe the line of more than a couple labor laws.

The investigation will likely bring the truth to light, but we won't know what happened for sure until we have all the facts. In any case, it's clear this situation will continue at least that long, or potentially longer, as long as Martin feels unsafe in his work environment.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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