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The Worst Stuff From The Miami Dolphins Investigation

Illustration for article titled The Worst Stuff From The Miami Dolphins Investigation

The independent investigation commissioned by the NFL came down harshly on Richie Incognito and other members of the Dolphins, finding that they displayed a "pattern" of racial and homophobic languages and other abuse. We've pulling out some of the more noteworthy stuff. If you see anything else in the full report, please alert us in the comments.


Incognito's attempts to cover up evidence

Incognito kept a fine book for the team's "kangaroo court," in which he fined players for cracking under emotional stress. When Jonathan Martin left the team, Incognito fined himself—then asked teammates to destroy the book.

Incognito recorded a $200 fine against himself for "breaking Jmart," awarded another lineman who had been verbally taunted a $250 bonus for "not cracking first," and wrote down a number of penalties against Martin for acting like a "pussy." The evidence shows, and Incognito did not dispute, that "breaking Jmart" meant causing Martin to have an emotional reaction in response to taunting.

Approximately one week after Martin left the team, on November 3, 2013, Incognito wrote nearly identical text messages to Pouncey and another lineman: "They're going to suspend me Please destroy the fine book first thing in the morning."

Racial taunts of Martin:

Martin related that one day when he showed up to practice one day without showering, Incognito began calling him a "smelly," "dirty" or "stinky" "Pakistani." Martin said that Incognito's teasing about body odor continued, even when he was wearing heavy deodorant, and that it bothered him significantly, particularly because it had a racial element.


Jokes about shooting black people:

Incognito and a former Dolphins offensive lineman, who is white, communicated about purchasing guns, apparently for recreational purposes. (We identify this former Dolphin as Player B.) The discussion veered into jokes about shooting black people:

Player B: Especially if u plan living in Arizona in the future, that's exactly what you want

Incognito: Yea. For picking off zombies

Player B: Lol isn't that why we own any weapons!?

Incognito: That and black people

Player B: Mmm def all black ppl

Four days later, Incognito and Player B discussed rifle scopes in text messages.

Player B: Yes. That's a solid optic made specifically for a .308 battle rifle

Incognito: Perfect for shooting black people

Player B: Lol exactly

Player B: Or Jeff Ireland

Sexually explicit comments about Martin's sister:

The evidence supports a finding that Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey repeatedly and persistently made graphic, sexually explicit comments about Martin's sister, a medical student whom they had never met. Four fairly typical examples of the types of insults made orally, according to Martin, are:

"We are going to run train on your sister. She loves me. I'm going to fuck her without a condom and cum in her cunt."

"Hey, Jmart's sister is in town. Get the plastic sheets ready, she's a squirter."

"I'm going to bang the shit out of her and spit on her and treat her like shit."

"Hear your sister has a wolf-puss. A fat, hairy pussy."

Although Martin's core complaints primarily relate to oral statements, crude references to his sister also appeared in a handful of text messages, including one that Incognito sent to Martin and other offensive linemen:

"I flew jmarts sister into Indy. My dick is dry and needs some of her healing squirt juices"


Racial taunting of an Asian-American trainer:

Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey admitted that they directed racially derogatory words toward him, including "Jap" and "Chinaman." At times, according to Martin, they referred to the Assistant Trainer as a "dirty communist" or a "North Korean," made demands such as "give me some water you fucking chink," spoke to him in a phony, mocking Asian accent, including asking for "rubby rubby sucky sucky," and called his mother a "rub and tug masseuse." Martin and others informed us that Incognito and Jerry taunted the Assistant Trainer with jokes about having sex with his girlfriend. Incognito admitted that these types of comments were made to the Assistant Trainer.

On December 7, 2012 (the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor), Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey donned traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem and jokingly threatened to harm the Assistant Trainer physically in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. Martin reported that the Assistant Trainer confided to him that he was upset about the Pearl Harbor prank, finding it derogatory and demeaning.


Homophobic taunting of "Player A":

The report finds that unnamed player was subject to repeated taunts about his perceived sexuality, some of the unconfirmed incidents even verging on sexual harassment. O-Line coach Jim Turner reportedly was aware of and took part in the taunting.


Martin and other witnesses informed us that Player A was repeatedly called a "faggot" and subjected to other homophobic invective. Incognito stated that Player A, although not actually believed to be gay, was subject to these taunts repeatedly and persistently—he got it "every day from everybody, high frequency." According to Incognito, Player A was a "good kid" and he "took it well," never asking his teammates to stop.

Incognito and others acknowledged that Player A was routinely touched by Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey in a mockingly suggestive manner, including on his rear end, while being taunted about his supposed homosexuality. Incognito specifically admitted that he would grab Player A and ask for a hug as part of this "joke."

Martin said that on one occasion, Pouncey physically restrained Player A and, in full view of other players, jokingly told Jerry to "come get some pussy," and that Jerry responded by touching Player A's buttocks in a way that simulated anal penetration. Pouncey and Jerry both denied this allegation. Given the seriousness of this allegation and the conflicting recollections, we decline to make any findings about this particular alleged incident.

The evidence shows that [Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner] overheard and participated in this behavior toward Player A. During the 2012 Christmas season, Coach Turner gave all of the offensive linemen gift bags that included a variety of stocking stuffers. In each gift bag except for Player A's, Turner included a female "blow-up" doll; Player A's bag included a male doll.


Racial taunts of Martin:

Incognito left the following voicemail message for Martin:

"Hey, wassup, you half-nigger piece of shit. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. I'll shit in your fuckin' mouth. I'm gonna slap your fuckin' mouth, I'm gonna slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. Fuck you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

Martin was appalled by this message. He said that Incognito had never before called him a "nigger." And although Martin did not regard statements such as "I'll kill you" as literal threats, the voicemail further distressed him because he feared that it signaled that the abuse he had endured during his rookie season would continue during his second season. According to Martin, a few weeks later, prior to a dinner at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant, Incognito addressed him in a text message as "shine box," which Martin felt was a derogatory term, and he responded with a message complaining about Incognito's "racist shit." At the dinner, Martin claimed, Incognito made additional offensive racial comments to him (although he said he laughed them off at the time). The comments, Martin said, included jokes about slavery, and he claimed that Incognito called him a "nigger" to his face at the restaurant. Incognito also insulted Martin in person and in text messages with other racially charged language, including referring to Martin as a "liberal mulatto bitch," "stinky Pakistani," "shine box" and "darkness."


Martin's text messages to parents

In spring of 2013, Martin exchanged text messages with his parents indicating that he was seriously affected by the bullying, and was seeking help.


On April 22, 2013, Martin wrote to his mother:

I figured out a major source of my anxiety. I'm a push over, a people pleaser. I avoid confrontation whenever I can, I always want everyone to like me. I let people talk about me, say anything to my face, and I just take it, laugh it off, even when I know they are intentionally trying to disrespect me. I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I'm a huge pussy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size. I would never fight back, just get sad & feel like no one wanted to be my friend, when in fact I was just being socially awkward. Most people in that situation are witty & quick with sarcastic replies, I never have been. I'm awkward around people a lot of the time because I simply don't know how to act around them.


I care about my legacy as a professional athlete. But I'm miserable currently. A therapist & medication won't help me gain the respect of my teammates. I really don't know what to do Mom.


In another exchange, Martin told his father he was upset that his teammtes repeatedly called him "nigger" and other racial slurs.

People call me a Nigger to my face. Happened 2 days ago. And I laughed it off. Because I am too nice of a person. They say terrible things about my sister. I don't do anything. I suppose it's white private school conditioning, turning the other cheek


Martin's father responded:

They think nigger is okay because black people use it. Tell them you don't use it and it is never okey and if they do it again then they can kiss your black ass. Likewise say that your sister is a Madonna. If they say it again they can kiss your ass. If they do say either again then just stare at them give them and give them your finger.

Just so you know, I punked out many times including over nigger. Also over just being black. Mot proud of it in the least. It is just a matter of understanding your own strength. Had 3 white boys outside of a bowling alley calling me nigger. I backed down.

Had a Harvard asshole talk about my suntan. I backed down. Just stay who you are.

Also, I learned how to pop a bully in his mouth and kicked one in his balls.

Martin failed to fight back when the behavior continued on a team yacht trip a week later. He texted his mother:

I'm never gonna change. I got punked again today. Like a little bitch. And I never do anything about it.

I was sobbing in a rented yacht bathroom earlier

Incognito leaks Martin's texts to a reporter

After Martin left the team, he received a series of friendly text messages from Incognito—Martin believes they were sent with the intention of leaking them to the media and clearing his name.

Incognito: How u doing buddy? Feeling better?? I miss us

Martin: Wassup man? The worlds gone crazy lol I'm good tho congrats on the win

Incognito: Thanks dude It's unbelievable all the attention this is getting. All that's important is that you feel better and know we miss u dude

Martin: Yeah I'm good man. It's insane bro but just know I don't blame you guys at all it's just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little.

Martin: Btw... Never check yourself into a mental hospital

An hour later, Jeff Darlington reported the exchange, posting the single Tweet where Martin said "I don't blame you guys at all." Incognito admitted leaking the conversation with Darlington.


Just hours later, Incognito conducted a text conversation with Mike Pouncey:

Incognito: Fuck Jmart That faggot is never [allowed] back

Pouncey: Bro I said the same thing I can't even look at him the same he's a pussy

Incognito: My agent just asked if we held mandatory strip club meetings Jmart is fucking ratting on everyone

Pouncey: Lol wow are you serious he is a fuck boy

Pouncey: He's not welcome back bro I can't be around that fucking guy

Incognito: Fuck that guy if Ur not with [u]s Ur against us

Pouncey: No question bro he's a coward for snitching

Incognito: Snitches get stitches Blood in blood out Fucking guy Pouncey: He's dead to me


Jim Turner pressures Martin to clear Incognito

On Nov. 2, 2013, O-Line coach Jim Turner sent a series of text messages to the recently hospitalized Martin urging him to release a statement absolving Incognito and other Dolphins players of any blame.

Turner: Richie incognito is getting hammered on national TV. This is not right. You could put an end to all the rumors with a simple statement. DO THE RIGHT THING. NOW.

Martin: Coach. I want to put out a statement. Believe me I do. This thing has become such a huge story somehow. But I've been advised not to... And I'm not supposed to text anyone either cuz last time I responded to a teammate (Richie) I was intentionally manipulated and the conversation was immediately forwarded to a reporter.

Turner: He is protecting himself. He has been beat up for 4 days. Put an end to this. You are a grown man. Do the right thing

Turner: John I want the best for you and your health but make a statement and take the heat off Richie and the lockerroom. This isn't right.

Turner [The next day]: I know you are a man of character. Where is it?

Martin considers leaving football

In May of 2013, Martin was debating whether to come back for a second season in which he believed his bullying would continue. He sent a text to a friend in which he listed the pros and cons of staying in the NFL:

-Football games are fun

-I can make a lot of money playing football and be set for life

-I have a legacy that will live after I die

-not many people get to live their childhood dream

-I am the left tackle for the Miami dolphins

-if I quit, I'll be known as a quitter for the rest of my life

-my legacy at Stanford will be tarnished

-I will never be able to look any coach from my past in the eye

-I hate going in everyday.

-I am unable to socialize with my teammates in their crude manner

-I already have a lot of money. I could travel the world, get my degree. Then get a real job

-I could lose 70 lbs and feel good about my body

-I won't die from CTE

-Maybe I'll start to LIKE myself

-I don't need to live lavishly. I could live very frugally

-why do I care about these people? All I need is my family

Incognito was fined for harassing a volunteer at a charity golf tournament

In May 2012, Incognito engaged in two incidents of inappropriate behavior at a Dolphins' charity golf tournament within the span of less than 24 hours. He has admitted that both incidents were fueled by alcohol. In the first, he and several other players commandeered a guest's car for joy-riding in the parking lot of the golf club and allegedly damaged the guest's luggage. The next day, Incognito allegedly molested a female volunteer at the tournament. He was accused of using a golf club to touch her genitals, touching her inappropriately with his body, squirting water on her and other inappropriate conduct, and she filed a report with the police. Incognito was not charged with a crime, but he entered into a confidential civil settlement to resolve the matter; news reports claim that he made a payment of $30,000. The Dolphins fined Incognito $5,000 for the first incident and $50,000 for the second, both for conduct deemed detrimental to the organization. The $50,000 penalty is one of the largest fines imposed on any Dolphins player to date for off-season conduct, according to team executives.

Incognito apologized to the Dolphins for his conduct at the golf tournament, but also filed a grievance against the team with respect to the $50,000 fine. He disputes certain allegations made by the female volunteer at the golf tournament, though he does not claim his conduct was appropriate. That matter remains unresolved.


Dolphins players harass Nate Garner

Lineman Nate Garner was subject to taunting to the point where Incognito joked that he would shoot up the place one day:

Incognito: Excited for tonight Nate is on the verge of killing us all.

Long: Good man It will be a good one for u guys tonight. Haha. What r u guys doing to Nate.

Incognito: Since we cut samuda we have been non stop on nate. Even turner is in on it. He looks like he's about to cry 24/7.

Long: Hahahaha. He's gonna go crazy one of these days.

After Martin left the team, he received a text from Garner:

Hey bro if u need to talk to anyone I'm here for ya. I have been dealing with this shit for 6 years. I hope ur doin ok


Martin alleges Incognito physically assaulted him

At the team's 2012 Christmas party,

According to Martin, what began as inoffensive pushing and shoving with Incognito escalated to play boxing and then suddenly took a more aggressive turn when Incognito took off his shirt, tackled him onto a sofa, and began punching him in the body and the face (though not hard enough to bruise or draw blood). Martin said he struggled to get Incognito off of him until several of his teammates broke up the scuffle.

Martin claimed (and other players agreed) that Incognito had a loud, belligerent side of his personality, which some called the "Tornado," and which allegedly tended to emerge after Incognito had been drinking. In Martin's view, the "Tornado" attacked him at the Christmas party.


Incognito told investigators that it was just playful "horsing around."

Martin backs out of team Vegas trip

The offensive line planned to go to Las Vegas in January of 2012. Martin did not want to attend and spend any more time with his teammates, and told them he would arrive a day late—his first step toward backing out altogether. He exchanged these texts with Incognito:

Martin: Yo you flying into Vegas Thursday?

Incognito: Yea, 3;30

Martin: Ok cool. I'm getting in Friday, I got a meeting that morning. When you leaving, Monday?

Incognito: Friday…. R u fucking serious

Martin: Yup… Don't worry I know I still gotta pay for hookers lol

Martin: I gotta get at least one for [Player A]…

Incognito: Don't forget the cocaine too

Incognito: No dude hookers u faggot

Incognito: Don't blame ur gay tendancies on [Player A]

Martin: I'm gonna get more bitches in 2 nights than all of you combined

Incognito: Stop it. By bitches u mean cocks in ur mouth

Incognito: U fucking mulatto liberal bitch

Incognito: I'm going to shit in ur eye

Incognito: Goodnight slut

Incognito: Tell ur squirting sister I said hi

Martin: Ah yes I missed being demeaned by you boys lol… Can't wait for this weekend


That Friday, Martin texted teammates to tell them he couldn't make it to Vegas. The team's kangaroo court would fine him $10,000.

Martin keeps quiet because of the team's "no snitching" culture

Sometimes, a fine would be levied on a lineman who was branded a "Judas," meaning a traitor or "snitch." For example, if Coach Turner, while watching game film footage, criticized a lineman for missing an assignment, and that lineman pointed out that one of his teammates was actually at fault, that lineman might be labeled a "Judas," which could result in a fellow player imposing a fine. Multiple Dolphins offensive linemen were familiar with the "Judas" concept and told us that Coach Turner had discussed it with them. Turner, however, denied knowing what the term "Judas" meant in the context of the Dolphins offensive line. In fact, he denied ever hearing the term "Judas" or "Judas fine" used in the offensive line room. He also denied lecturing players on its meaning. We do not credit Turner's denials. The evidence shows that Turner was aware of the "Judas" concept and that he had discussed its meaning with the linemen, explaining how Judas had betrayed Jesus Christ and defining Judas as a "snitch." Further, Chris Mosley, the Dolphins former assistant offensive line coach, claimed that Turner actually introduced the Judas concept to the offensive linemen.

We accept that the fear of being labeled a "snitch" or a "Judas" played a role in Martin's decision not to report abuse from his teammates. Martin believed that going to his coaches or other authority figures meant risking ostracism or even retaliation from his fellow linemen.


Martin leaves the Dolphins

On Oct. 28, Martin stormed out of the Dolphins facility and checked himself into a mental health facility.

Martin told us that he had been mocked throughout the day before he left, including with racially derogatory language, and that these taunts, in addition to the cafeteria prank, caused him to boil over. He claimed that in a meeting room early in the day, he heard taunts from Incognito that included "stinky Pakistani," which made him "almost fed up."

Later, when Martin arrived in the cafeteria for dinner around 6 pm, most of the offensive linemen, including Incognito, were already sitting together at a table. The evidence shows that while Martin was waiting in line for food, Incognito called out to him from the table, saying that Martin was a "stinky Pakistani" who should not join the group. According to Martin, a fellow player standing near him in line overheard the comment and said "get them off your back." Martin said that this episode further demonstrated to him that his teammates witnessed how he was routinely demeaned by the rest of the offensive line and observed that he was not standing up for himself, and he promised himself that if the linemen did one more thing, he would leave. Moments later, at Incognito's urging, all of the linemen sitting at the table got up and walked away when Martin arrived. For Martin, the cafeteria incident was the last straw. He slammed his tray of food on the floor and left the Dolphins facility.


He told us that after he drove away, he bought a large bottle of vodka (but reportedly did not drink any of it), went to see a movie and then bought a sandwich. During this time, he turned his phone off to avoid receiving calls and text messages from people who would be looking for him. After he turned on his phone, he decided to call a hospital and arrange to check himself in. Martin said that he wanted to get to a hospital so his parents would know he was in a safe place, and also because he believed that he might need medical attention because he suspected that he was acting irrationally.