DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — In a culture that fosters conflict, Jonathan Martin sought to avoid it.
Upset by treatment he considered abusive, the Miami Dolphins tackle let the situation fester for months before leaving the team last week. Martin’s agent then complained to the Dolphins, who suspended guard Richie Incognito.
The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin, and whether their teammates and the organization mishandled the matter.
But pro football is a macho world, and some players believe Martin should have responded more firmly.
“Is Incognito wrong? Absolutely. He’s 100 percent wrong,” New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. “No individual should have to go through that, especially in their workplace.
“But at the same time, Jonathan Martin is a 6-4, 320-pound man. I mean, at some point and time you need to stand your ground as an individual. Am I saying go attack, go fight him? No. I think we all understand we can stand our ground without anything being physical.”
Dolphins players have robustly defended Incognito, long considered among the NFL’s dirtiest players. He’s now a notorious national villain, but teammates praise his leadership and loyalty.
They’ve been less passionate in their support of Martin, saying he and Incognito behaved like best friends.
“They did a lot of stuff together,” tackle Tyson Clabo said. “So if he had a problem with the way he was treating him, he had a funny way of showing it.”
Martin is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues.