The Miami Dolphins have suspended guard Richie Incognito after a series of reports in which he was accused of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.
Martin, a second-year offensive lineman from Stanford, abruptly left the team last week.
According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, a cafeteria prank where a bunch of teammates stood up and moved to another table when Martin tried to eat with them was the final straw for the player.
But it was reportedly not an isolated incident.
A source told Jason La Canfora of CBS, “It’s hard to picture a 6-foot-5 350-lb football player as being the victim of bullying, but that’s exactly what took place here.”
CBS’s Gregg Doyel described Incognito as the “ring leader” of the bullying campaign against Martin.
The latest allegation comes from multiple sources who told Fox’s Mike Garafolo that Incognito sent Martin texts and voicemails that were “both threatening and racially charged in nature.”
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports that the alleged bullying was partly based on Martin’s family background:
“This wasn’t an abrupt action by Martin, who is Stanford-educated and the son of two lawyers who attended Harvard University. A source said Martin has tried dealing with a slew of indignities that crossed into personal and family insults, including being bestowed with the nickname of “Big Weirdo.'”
Over the weekend the bullying allegations went beyond emotional violence.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Martin was coerced into giving Incognito $US15,000 for a summer trip to Las Vegas that he didn’t even attend. Incognito forcefully denied those allegations on Twitter:
Young Dolphins players have routinely been forced to pay for social outings involving veterans, according to a report from Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.
“The source characterised Dolphins veterans using younger players as ATMs to finance their nightlife whims. These older players have been caught up in the fast-paced Miami lifestyle without the burden of having to pay for it, the source continued.”
Rookies were once forced to pay for a $US30,000 team dinner, Beasley reports.
That came the morning after this tweet from Dolphins player Jared Odrick:
The team released the following statement:
“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 organisation 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.”
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