Dolphins owner to talk to Martin before NFL investigators
Updated On: Nov 12 2013 10:19:01 AM CST
Ross said he has exchanged text messages with Martin and wants to offer support while hearing the version of events and details that led to his departure from the team.
Martin left the team Oct. 28 after an alleged lunchroom prank in which some teammates, including Incognito, refused to sit next to him. Martin is in Los Angeles with his family and receiving counseling for emotional issues.
"What's going on is something that couldn't have been a worse nightmare," Ross said. "The most important thing is, we care about Jonathan Martin. I have reached out to Jonathan Martin, I have texted him, we have communicated via text, and I plan to meet with him in person very shortly.
"I want to apologize to our fans for putting us in this situation."
Ross asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to appoint an investigator to head up the probe because he wants everyone to know the investigation is independent. That investigator, Ted Wells, is scheduled to meet with Martin on Friday -- two days after Ross and Martin plan a sitdown.
Martin wants to return to the NFL at some point, but he does not feel he can play with the Dolphins anymore and is unlikely to play again this season.
According to the ESPN report based on sources, Martin is relieved to be away from the team at the moment because the past season and a half were unbearable for him. He tried to befriend teammates to avoid being picked on, but apparently that was unsuccessful.
Fox Sports reported Monday that Martin plans to release a video statement, perhaps this week, explaining in detail why he left the team.
Ross texted Martin last week and offered his support as the Incognito controversy began to take hold, a league source told ESPN.
In the text, Ross expressed to Martin what he also said in a team news release last week -- that he is committed to creating a professional environment for all members of his organization.
Incognito, in an interview with Fox Sports on Sunday, confirmed that he did leave the controversial voice mail message to Martin in April that included a racial slur and a threat to kill Martin. Despite the scathing language, Incognito said his actions "came from a place of love" and that vulgar communication was normal among Dolphins players.
"I'm not a racist, and to judge me by that one word is wrong," Incognito said. "In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it's friend to friend on a voice mail."
In a transcript of the voice mail message from April, Incognito referred to Martin as a "half n-- piece of s--," and added, "F-- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
"It's thrown around a lot," Incognito told Fox Sports. "It's a word that I've heard Jon use a lot. It's not saying it's right that I did it and used it in a voice mail. But it's a lot of colorful words that are being thrown around in a locker room that we don't use in everyday life."
Dolphins offensive lineman Mike Pouncey told ESPN's "Monday Night Football" crew that he thought Incognito's Sunday interview was "fantastic."
"It was absolutely true," Pouncey said. "(Incognito) was very sincere about a lot of things. He admitted when he was wrong and let the whole world know his side of the story."