Reports finds pattern of harassment in Miami Dolphins locker room

BY Chelsea Coatney  February 14, 2014 at 2:20 PM EDT
Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images

Football player Richie Incognito was suspended from the Miami Dolphins after his teammate Jonathan Martin accused him of bullying. Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images

An independent report, ordered by the NFL, concluded that Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, along with two other lineman, regularly harassed teammate Jonathan Martin, contributing to Martin’s feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Incognito was suspended by the Miami Dolphins over three months ago after Martin turned over evidence of the alleged bullying to team officials. The NFL ordered an investigation of issues of workplace conduct after the Dolphins turned to Commissioner Roger Goodell for help.

The 144-page report, released Friday, concluded that although Incognito and fellow offensive linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey did not intend to force Martin off the team, their actions did contribute to Martin’s decision to leave the Dolphins last October and seek treatment for mental health issues.

Martin’s mental health played a substantial role in the report, which listed his descent into depression and his increased sensitivity to insults as a result. Those insults included racial and homophobic slurs made in person and via text message.

According to the report, “… the facts we uncovered do not support the view of Incognito and his teammates that this conduct was all good-natured fun among friends … the treatment of Martin and others in the Miami Dolphins organizations at times was offensive and unacceptable in any environment, including the world professional football players inhabit.”

The report also concludes that Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and the front office were unaware of any harassment.

Investigators have recommended “the creation of new workplace conduct rules and guidelines that will help ensure the players respect each other as professionals and people.” There has been no response yet from the NFL.

Incognito spoke out against the claims, and Martin himself, on Twitter. He says he is only guilty of “poor language and rude remarks.”