Since second-year offensive lineman Jonathan Martin's "emotional breakdown" on Thursday, there's been more reporting about the atmosphere in the Miami Dolphins' locker room, and the circumstances that may have contributed to Martin leaving the team. The details are ugly.
Yesterday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reported that veteran offensive lineman Richie Incognito was to blame for much of the bullying that may have landed Martin in a treatment facility.
Today, the Dolphins released a statement about the situation, calling the accusations of bullying speculation:
The Miami Dolphins, including Coach Joe Philbin and Jonathan's teammates, have been in communication with Jonathan and his family since his departure from the club and continue to be in contact. Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being. As an organization, we take any accusations of player misconduct seriously. The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally. The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate. Additionally, the NFL offered its assistance during this time, which we appreciated and gladly accepted. We will continue to make Jonathan's health and well-being a focus as we do with all of our players.
This morning, lineman Incognito also attempted to rubbish the claims on Twitter, saying that Schefter was unfairly targeting him.
As the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley reported today, Schefter wrote an article in training camp saying that Incognito punched a bouncer in the face at Club LIV. Incognito, however, denied it, and the accompanying police report from the incident seemed to back his claim.
Earlier this week, it was thought that the NFL Players Association was looking into the harassment claims. But the NFLPA released a statement that no official investigation is underway because Martin hasn't filed a complaint. Today, Schefter and Mortensen published another piece, alleging that Martin hasn't filed a complaint because he fears retribution from Incognito and others.
According to Schefter and Mortensen, a trip to Las Vegas is central to the case, and currently under review.
Sources told ESPN that one of the significant allegations being reviewed is that Incognito got Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of Dolphins last summer, even though Martin preferred not to travel with the group.
Rather than go, Martin simply gave Incognito the $15,000, sources told ESPN, fearing the consequences if he did not hand over the money.
Today, the Herald's Beasley expounded on Twitter, giving more context to the bullying allegations. Older players are using the younger ones to underwrite their lavish lifestyles, with one anonymous young player apparently having coughed up so much cash to veterans that he's gone broke. This bullying, according to Beasley, has caused a rift in the locker room.
The story is supported by tweets from two Dolphins that came in just last night:
We've all heard stories of hazing, bullying, and rookies picking up humongous tabs on teams around the league, but these reports point to something more than good-natured ribbing. If true, they paint a scary picture of a Dolphins organization whose pathologies go well beyond just Martin's situation.
UPDATE: The Miami Dolphins have just released a statement concerning the Martin situation. Martin has lodged an official complaint, and both the Dolphins and NFL are looking into it. Full text below.
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.