Dolphins suspend Richie Incognito as NFL investigates Jonathan Martin case
UPDATE (2:35 p.m. ET): ESPN is reporting that Richie Incognito used explicit language and racial slurs in voicemails to Jonathan Martin.
"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---," a voicemail left for Martin by Incognito in April 2013 reportedly begins. "F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
ESPN cites sources who say this was not an isolated incident for Incognito, an impending free agent.
CBSSports' Jason La Canfora reported earlier Monday that Martin also has made available to the Dolphins and the NFL several texts allegedly sent to him by Incognito that include racial slurs as well as threats to both Incognito and his family. "There are several instances of threats as well," La Canfora reports, "and overall disturbing exchanges, including one in which Incognito refers to defecating in Martin's mouth."
[si_video id="video_95B8E39A-A98B-C484-0633-2473410628C9" height="450"]
SI senior writer Jim Trotter spoke with several players and front office members who expressed displeasure with Martin's decision to turn the texts and voicemails over to the NFL and Dolphins.
The Miami Dolphins have suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito indefinitely, as an investigation into the developing Jonathan Martin situation unfolds. NFL Network's Jeff Darlington was the first to report the news Sunday night.
"We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision [to suspend Incognito] is in the best interest of the organization at this time," the Dolphins said in a release. "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.”
Martin walked out on the Dolphins Monday, reportedly because he had been subjected to substantial ridicule from some of his teammates. Incognito was placed at the heart of those incidents, on multiple occasions by ESPN. He took to Twitter on Sunday morning to demand his name be "cleared," after the Dolphins released a statement saying that "the notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern."
Incognito's series of tweets included one that implored ESPN's Adam Schefter to "stop slandering my name."
However, an additional report from Schefter and his colleague Chris Mortensen read that "Martin has not filed a formal complaint because he fears retribution, primarily from Incognito." Then, on Fox Sports Live Sunday night, NFL insider Mike Garafolo said that (per Bleacher Report's Matt Miller), "Multiple sources told me Martin's camp informed Dolphins and NFLPA that Incognito sent threatening and racially charged texts"
Only a few hours after their initial comments, the Dolphins released a second statement, which stated: "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.”
And at least in the immediate future, that is bad news for Incognito. There's no telling how long the NFL and its players' association may need to pick through the details of Martin's case, nor what sort of punishment may await Incognito if he's deemed to be the one to blame for Martin's sudden breakdown.
Martin may soon be placed on the reserve/non-football illness list; Darlington reported earlier this week that Martin sought out "mental counseling" after leaving Miami's facilities.
The NFL also faces the task of determining if Martin's troubles are part of a larger problem, both in the Miami locker room and league-wide. The Miami Herald's Adam Beasley reported that "Dolphins veterans [are] using younger players as ATMs," with rookies allegedly handed a $30K tab at a team dinner and Martin coughing up $15,000 to Incognito to help fund a trip taken by several players.