Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There are really two schools of thought
in the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, which reached a
crescendo Friday after special investigator Ted Wells revealed his long-
awaited report excoriating Incognito and his partners in crime, fellow
offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry.
Former NFL linebacker Seth Joyner preached the realist's point of view via
Twitter: "Here we go with this Incognito, J Martin nonsense! Enough already
tired of hearing a grown ass man was bullied.....sorry, Man up!," the former
Green Bay offensive lineman T.J. Lang disagreed and went the pie-in-the-sky
route while also hoping to distance himself from Incognito and his
"Please don't stereotype NFL players for what's going on with Miami. That type
of stuff is not common in other locker rooms," Lang stated.
To me, it was let's spend a lot of time and money to investigate something we
In fact, it was like Deja Vu all over again when scanning Wells' take on the
bullying in Miami, the same feeling I got when first reading George Mitchell's
cut-and-paste "report" on steroid use in baseball.
Nothing in Wells' report shocked or surprised me because anyone who has been
around the NFL for any length of time understands people like Richie Incognito
exist and are certainly not rare.
The report concluded that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line --
Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey -- engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at
not only Martin, but also another young Dolphins' offensive lineman and
Japanese assistant trainer Naohisa Inoue. It also implicated offensive line
coach Jim Turner, whose statements to investigators were discredited multiple
times in the 144-page report.
"When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was
important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious
allegations," the Dolphins' said in a statement. "As an organization, we are
committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one
Martin was reportedly taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit
remarks about his sister and his mother while also being ridiculed with racial
insults and other offensive comments.
Wells also rejected the idea that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after
the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team but acknowledges
he has had a history of depression dating back to before Incognito and Co.
started harassing him.
Inoue, meanwhile, was repeatedly the object of racial slurs and other racially
derogatory language, according to Wells, while the other offensive lineman --
believed to be current Carolina Panthers tackle Andrew McDonald -- was
subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching.
Incognito's lawyer, Mark Schamel, countered with a strongly worded statement
criticizing Wells' work and promising a rebuttal.
"Mr. Wells' NFL report is replete with errors," Schamel's statement said. "The
facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin's mental health, drug
use, or on field performance issues were related to the treatment by his
"It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not
surprising. The truth, as reported by the Dolphins players and as shown by the
evidence, is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any
member of the Dolphins offensive line. We are analyzing the entire report and
will release a thorough analysis as soon as it is ready."
The Wells Report concludes that the harassment by Martin's teammates was a
contributing factor in his decision to leave the team, but also finds that
Martin's teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him
lasting emotional injury, seemingly conflicting points of view but also a
correct interpretation of what happened here.
Incognito and Jerry both told Wells everyone got goofed on as a way to build
Trainer Kevin O'Neill, meanwhile, told Martin he was too nice and to stand up
for himself -- a tact which would have stopped all this nonsense.
Critics may jump on that thought as a defense of Incognito's boorish behavior
or an indictment of Martin by someone who doesn't understand depression or the
fear of the bullying.
Far from it. When writing about Michael Sam earlier this week, I felt it was
important to take aim at the assumption that any potential gay player being
teased by the Incognitos of the world would be a shrinking violet.
From day one the Martin case was about an extremely sensitive individual being
thrust into a world of alpha males who act in a way that you don't want to
talk about at parties.
"As all must surely recognize, the NFL is not an ordinary workplace," the
report's conclusion read. "Professional football is a rough, contact sport
played by men of exceptional size, speed, strength and athleticism. But even
the largest, strongest and fleetest person may be driven to despair by
bullying, taunting and constant insults."
Captain Obvious would be so proud.
So what's the answer?
"We encourage the creation of new workplace conduct rules and guidelines that
will help ensure that players respect each other as professionals and people,"
the report read.
And we might as well also petition for the opening of that puppy dogs and
fireworks store right next to the Unicorn petting zoo.
The Sports Network