Investigation must be fair to both Dolphins
MIAMI – The NFL Players Association said it will insist on a fair investigation for all involved in the Miami Dolphins harassment case, including suspended guard Richie Incognito.
The league is investigating the relationship Incognito had with teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team last week because of emotional issues. Incognito was suspended indefinitely by coach Joe Philbin for his treatment of Martin.
“As the representative organization of all players, the NFLPA will insist on a fair investigation for all involved,” the union said in a statement Tuesday that included no condemnation of Incognito’s conduct.
Instead, the union said accountability rested with the Dolphins.
“We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all players, and that owners, executives, coaches and players should set the best standards and examples,” the union said. “It is the duty of this union to hold the clubs … accountable for safety and professionalism in the workplace. … We will continue to remain in contact with the impacted players, their representatives and player leadership.”
Incognito, speaking publicly for the first time since his suspension Sunday, was interviewed briefly by a reporter for WSVN-TV.
“I’m just trying to weather the storm right now,” Incognito said before getting into his car. “This will pass.”
Dolphins officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. The team practiced Tuesday for its game Monday night at Tampa Bay, but had no media availability.
Incognito’s harassment of Martin included text messages that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation have said. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin, a second-year pro, is biracial. Incognito, a guard in his ninth NFL season, is white.
No criminal investigation has been disclosed. Meanwhile, the NFL must decide whether the Dolphins failed to enforce the guidelines for workplace conduct included in the league’s player policy manual.
Coach Joe Philbin said he was unaware of any harassment between the players until after Martin left the team. The Stanford graduate is with his family in Los Angeles for counseling, and it’s unclear whether he’ll rejoin the team this season.
Also unclear is how other players would receive Martin after he complained about a teammate and abruptly left while Miami was mired in a four-game losing streak.
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