Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was adamant on Twitter this weekend that he was a victim of false speculation that he bullied Jonathan Martin, and wanted his name cleared.
The Miami Dolphins are going to wait to see what the NFL says about Incognito's innocence.
The Dolphins have suspended Incognito while the NFL investigates the situation, NFL.com's Jeff Darlington reported after speaking to Incognito. The team announced the suspension shortly after that.
Richie Incognito was advised by Joe Philbin tonight he has been indefinitely suspended by team while NFL investigates, Incognito tells me.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) November 4, 2013
The story has continued to escalate since it was reported that Martin went AWOL from the team this week after becoming upset over an incident in which some teammates moved when he tried to sit with them at lunch.
Martin, a starting tackle for the Dolphins, didn't play on Thursday. There have been conflicting reports since then.
Fox Sports said that Martin left the team after a pattern of bullying against him. The Sun-Sentinel said Martin left because of emotional issues, not bullying. But ESPN had a detailed report that Incognito had intimidated Martin. ESPN said, among other things, Incognito pressured Martin into contributing $15,000 toward a trip by the linemen to Las Vegas, a trip Martin didn't go on. The report said Martin feared retribution from Incognito and that's why he didn't immediately file a formal complaint. But Martin's representatives did eventually inform the team of "player misconduct" on Sunday. Here was the Dolphins statement:
“We received notification today from Jonathan’s representation about allegations of player misconduct. We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.”
Here was the team's statement late Sunday night in announcing Incognito's suspension:
“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.”
The Miami Herald said that it wasn't just an issue with Martin, that many young Dolphins players are pressured by veterans to pick up the tab for expensive dinners, for example.
With the NFL investigating and Martin's agents informing the team that something had happened, the Dolphins had little choice but to take a serious step.
- - - - - - -