Posted November 05, 2013

NFLPA seeks ‘fair’ investigation of Dolphins over Richie Incognito’s alleged bullying

Richie Incognito had started all eight games this season with the Miami Dolphins. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito indefinitely. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The NFL Players Association has released a statement regarding allegations of bullying among Dolphins players.

Offensive guard Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the team on Sunday night, as the NFL began investigating his involvement in the sudden departure of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin from the team last week. Allegations that Incognito bullied Martin have included voicemails and text messages that contained racial remarks and threats as revealed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and CBS’ Jason La Canfora.

The NFLPA statement reads:

We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all players and that owners, executives, coaches and players should set the best standards and examples. It is the duty of this union to hold the clubs and teams accountable for safety and professionalism in the workplace.

As the representative organization of all players, the NFLPA will insist on a fair investigation for all involved. We will continue to remain in contact with the impacted players, their representatives and player leadership.

BURKE: Richie Incognito is done as a Dolphin

The Dolphins reportedly have heard the voicemails in question and released their own statement Sunday night:

“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.”



Which player does the NFLPA represent Incognito or Martin?  How do they choose?


I will begin by stipulating that I have never played in the NFL. I did play football in both high school and college, and the thought that  something like this has to become an issue for debate in the press , and among people who have never 'walked the walk', makes me sick. It should have been handled between the two men involved, by them and their teammates, or by the above and the coaching staff. Incognito clearly has issues, and should be put in his place. Martin comes across like some kind of rec league 8 year old soccer player, not an O line guy from the NFL. Really lame, and pathetic.



I think part of the issue is that Martin didn't think it was possible to "put Incognito in his place," as you say he should have been.  If the coach himself told Incognito to "toughen Martin up," as has been reported, Martin might not have felt he had any choice but to leave.  

 Even now, the Dolphins as an organization will have much more influence on where this goes than any other person or party.  That's as it should be.   However, the NFL is a product for which I pay.  Just like any other product, I want to know if it is manufactured in a way that doesn't shift the cost/benefit analysis away from something for which I'm willing to pay.  

Most of the opinions will come from people who don't know what happened and haven't been anywhere near an NFL locker room, this is true.  So, we won't know exactly what happened.  However, some things need to be prohibited and this situation is going to start that discussion.  Everyone will have a say, especially the fans.  Without the fans there is no NFL.  Period.  Maybe Martin over-reacted.  Maybe Incognito should be banished from the league.  But I thing we should all find out "how the sausage is made."

And as for "walking the walk," the same thing could be said of all of us and Martin (or anybody else for that matter).  We don't know what else was happening in his life.  Maybe he was brutalized by a family member when he was young, or there was some other reason why he was quiet and withdrawn.  While it is clear that Incognito needed to be put in his place, Martin didn't.  We don't have much history of Martin but we do of Incognito and it is tough to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Martin is a 300 plus pound lineman who is tough enough to make it into the starting lineup of an NFL team, and I don't see any evidence that it was by sheer athleticism and despite poor work ethic.