The line of Miami Dolphins players willing to stand by embattled guard Richie Incognito is so long, even former Dolphins are now defending his alleged harassment of Jonathan Martin.
Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Lydon Murtha was a member of the team from 2009 until he was released in 2012. Because of his familiarity with both men, Murtha wrote an explanatory article on MMQB.SI.com to offer his perception of the events that have been reported and led to Incognito being suspended from the team for allegedly hazing and harassing Martin.
Murtha depicts Martin as a loner who never opened up to players on the team, and one who overreacted to normal occurrences within Miami’s locker room. He said coaches told leaders on the team to bring Martin "out of his shell," and that is when issues started to occur.
“That’s where Incognito ran into a problem,” Murtha wrote for MMQB. “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. He was the jokester on the team, and he joked with everybody from players to coaches. That voicemail he sent came from a place of humor, but where he really screwed up was using the N-word. That, I cannot condone, and it’s probably the biggest reason he’s not with the team right now. Odd thing is, I’ve heard Incognito call Martin the same thing to his face in meetings and all Martin did was laugh. Many more worse things were said about others in the room from all different parties. It’s an Animal House. Now Incognito’s being slandered as a racist and a bigot, and unfortunately that’s never going to be wiped clean because of all the wrong he’s done people in his past. But if you really know who Richie is, he’s a really good, kind man and far from a racist.”
Murtha also offered an explanation for the accusations that Martin was forced to pay for a Las Vegas trip that he did not want to attend, and eventually skipped.
“Every year, as tradition, the offensive line goes on a big Vegas trip,” Mutha said. “Everything is paid for in advance, from hotels to a private jet to show tickets. Martin originally verbally committed to the trip, then later backed out after everything was booked. Now, if you can’t go because of an emergency then it’s okay, but to say you’re going and then decide you don’t want to spend the money later? Everything was paid for, and then when it was time to pay up he didn’t want to go anymore. You don’t do that to your brothers. The veterans who paid for it, including Incognito and others, asked for Martin’s share, and he gave it to them. End of story.”
In addition, Murtha said Martin overreacted to a cafeteria prank, which involved the lineman down at a table and everyone else getting up and leaving.
“The silliest part of this story, to me, is the incident at the cafeteria, in which Martin was supposed to have been hazed when everyone got up from their seats as he sat down. Whoever leaked that story failed to share that getting up from a packed lunch table when one lineman sits down is a running gag that has been around for years. It happened to me more than once, and it happened to Martin because guys on the team say he was overcoming an illness. Just like when a guy is hurt, the joke is, I don’t want to sit with you, you’ve got the bug. Perhaps for Martin it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but when Incognito reached him after he stormed out, Martin told him the departure had nothing to do with Incognito. Martin said it was something else. Then the media onslaught began.”
Murtha’s opinions are interesting to hear from an insider who still has locker room connections, but there is another curious aspect to this story.
Martin still has not given his side.
Nearly everybody has voiced their opinion on these alleged incidents, but Martin has not said a word. Murtha said Martin's release of Incognito’s voice mail to the media broke locker room code, and believes it will be hard for any player to trust him again. It is hard to argue against that theory.
However, at some point Martin needs to give his version of the story. If not, Martin's critics will continue to use his silence as proof that he was the real problem, not Incognito.
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