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Philbin: No accusations of misconduct until Sunday

The SportsXchange

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin met with offensive tackle Jonathan Martin last week and he said Monday that no accusations of misconduct were raised until Sunday, when Martin's representatives contacted the team.

Philbin said he had enough information to make a decision as of Sunday to suspend offensive guard Richie Incognito, but would not discuss details of conversations with either player.

Philbin and owner Stephen Ross agreed to request an objective NFL investigation into the matter.

"I take this responsibility very seriously," Philbin said at his weekly press conference on Monday. "If the review shows this is not a safe atmosphere, I will take whatever steps necessary to make sure it is."

Incognito is unlikely to return to the team.

"There was never any mention of inappropriate behavior -- not in the meeting, not in the phone conversation that I had with him," Philbin said of ongoing discussions with Martin.

Martin, who left the Dolphins last week amid reports of bullying from teammates, specifically feared retribution from Incognito, according to ESPN, and shared the content of the text and voice messages, with family, the team and the NFL.

Philbin said the focus is on the team in the locker room and did not elaborate on Martin's status.

The team requested an investigation by the league, and there have been conflicting reports whether the NFL Players Association was investigating the situation or merely gathering information.

"My focus right now is on the men in the locker room getting ready to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," Philbin said. "I will be in full and complete cooperation with (the NFL investigation). But there are not going to be comments on this until we've had the full investigation."

The Dolphins announced Sunday that Incognito was suspended indefinitely. The Dolphins are expected to place Martin on the non-football injury list as soon as Tuesday, according to the NFL Network.

It is entirely possible that neither Martin nor Incognito will play for the Dolphins again. Incognito's career with any team seems in jeopardy.

"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," the Dolphins' statement said. "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."

ESPN reported that Martin was intimidated by Incognito into paying $15,000 toward a trip to Las Vegas. Martin did not go on the trip but still surrendered the money.

Among the text messages that Incognito reportedly sent to Martin include some of which Incognito refers to Martin, who is biracial, as a "half-(racial slur)" and also includes disturbing threats against him and his family.

According to the reports, Martin sincerely believes that Incognito may be capable of following on the threats, and it is in his best interest to stay away from the team.

Upper-level NFL officials met Monday morning as they begin an investigation in the case. League representatives who have access to the texts believe the investigation could lead to new policies and practices regarding hazing, verbal harassment and stricter codes concerning financial harassment. The new policies could affect practices in which veterans force rookies to pick up excessive tabs and bills as a rite of passage.

Before being suspended Sunday, Incognito took to Twitter, writing "I want my name CLEARED." He took direct aim at Schefter, writing: "Stop slandering my name. You hide behind "sources" who are not man enough to put their name behind the BS you report."
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