Football player Jonathan Martin, who left the Miami Dolphins mid-season amid allegations of bullying and racism, sat down for his first interview since the scandal broke.
Martin told NBC Nightly News, which aired the episode Tuesday evening, that the persistence of vulgar language and the climate the lockerroom made him feel trapped, forcing him to leave the team.
Martin left the Dolphins in October and would later lodge allegations of bullying, which prompted a nationwide discussion on intimidation and the language of the locker room.
The 24-year-old tackle said that he was harassed daily by teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended indefinitely from the team.
”I’m a grown man,” said Martin, 24. ”I’ve been in locker rooms. There’s vulgar language used in locker rooms. One instance doesn’t bother me. It’s the persistence of it. I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation. I felt trapped, like I didn’t have a way to make it right. It came down to a point where I thought it was best to remove myself from the situation.”
According to Yahoo, Ted Wells, a New York attorney, began a league investigation in November. Wells’ report is expected to address the roles of coach Joe Philbin, his staff and Miami management in regard to the handling of bullying and more specifically charges that Martin levied against the organization. One key issue that was mentioned throughout the case is how much a role, if any, the staff played in the alleged bullying, and whether anyone on the coaching staff ordered Incognito to toughen Martin up, Yahoo reports. Wells’ report will be released after the Super Bowl.
The Dolphins ended a promising season at 8-8, and owner Stephen Ross kept coach Joe Philbin and parted ways with general manager Jeff Ireland. Dennis Hickey was introduced as Ireland’s replacement at a news conference on Tuesday, during which Ross talked briefly about the case and the report, Yahoo reports.
”I have an idea what will be in it,” Ross said Tuesday. ”I haven’t seen the report. I don’t know exactly what his conclusion is. When it comes out, we’ll do what has to be done. In my mind, I know what direction we’re going … The respect that we gained by how we handled the situation that took place here says a lot about this organization and the people that are running it.”
Incognito is set to become a free agent this winter, and when a reporter asked Ross if fans would ever see Martin in a Dolphins uniform again, Ross replied: ”I don’t believe so. Well, I can’t say that,” Ross said, adding with a chuckle, ”Therefore I retract that.”