NBC Sports' Tony Dungy has been close to the hazing incident between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito that brewed in Miami since the Dolphins brought on Dungy as an adviser.
Now Dungy spoke to Martin in a one-on-one interview for the "Today Show," and the former coach also spoke to Carson Daly about Martin's hazing. It's clear that Dungy was deeply affected by what he saw and heard.
"I listened to some of the voicemails and saw the text messages, and it was, as [Martin] said, racial, personal, attacking his family," Dungy said. "It was a tough, tough situation. I couldn’t picture anything like this going on in the locker rooms that I was involved in."
Martin, 24, told Dungy it was the constant barrage of hazing that broke him and led to him taking a leave of absence from the team in October.
“I’m a grown man,” Martin said. “I’ve been in locker rooms. There’s vulgar languages in locker rooms. One instance doesn’t bother me. It’s the persistence of it.
“I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation. I felt trapped, like I didn’t have a way to make it right. It came down to a point where I thought it was best just to remove myself from the situation.”
Martin explained to Dungy that the hateful voicemails that Incognito left on Martin's phone were just the tip of the iceberg. There was a progressive layer of hazing that endured over his two years with the Dolphins, and Martin believes that the problem is one that runs through the NFL culture.
"There was persistent comments of a racial nature, aggressive sexual comments related to my sister and my mother,'' Martin said. "I’ve spoken to my former teammates in other locker rooms across the NFL and I asked them, does this stuff go on? Is this normal rooking hazing? The consensus was, this is not normal."
Now comes Martin's future. It's likely the Dolphins will part ways with him, either by trading him or releasing him, and Dungy believes there will be a few teams interested in his services if they can get past the incident and feel that Martin is committed to playing and can fit in their locker room. Not surprisingly, Martin wants a second chance at playing next season.
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