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Investigator: Incognito bullied, harassed Martin

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 14 2014 10:06:12 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2014 10:27:05 AM CST
Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin

NFL investigator Ted Wells concluded in his investigation of the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal that offensive guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry, and center Mike Pouncey bullied and harassed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, another young Dolphins lineman and an assistant trainer.

Wells' findings were released Friday. He began his investigation Nov. 6 after being hired by commissioner Roger Goodell to look into the Dolphins' workplace environment.

The story broke after Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 28, in which he claimed he was harassed by Incognito and others on the team. Incognito was later suspended.

Wells, co-chair of the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, led the investigation. The law firm said in a press release that it reviewed thousands of voluntarily-produced documents, including text messages, emails and team policies, and interviewed more than 100 witnesses, including Dolphins players, coaches, key front office personnel, and owner Stephen Ross.

"The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments," Wells said in a statement.

"The Report rejects any suggestion that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team. Contemporaneous text messages that Martin sent to his parents and others months before he left the Dolphins -- which have never before been made public -- corroborate his account that the persistent harassment by his teammates caused him significant emotional distress.

"The 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."

Ross responded to the report in a statement released Friday.

"We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings," he said. "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. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."

The NFL Players Association said it will carefully study the report and meet with the players.

"We have received the report on workplace conditions in Miami," the union said in a statement. "We will review the findings closely, confer with our players and all relevant parties involved."


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