The Dolphins (4-4) play for the first time since Incognito was suspended when they face Tampa Bay (0-8) on Monday night.
Incognito is white and Martin is biracial. Teammates both black and white have said Incognito is not a racist, and they’ve been more supportive of the veteran guard than they have of Martin.
Incognito acknowledged leaving a voicemail for Martin in April in which he used a racist term, threatened to kill his teammate and threatened to slap Martin’s mother.
“When I see those words come up across the screen, I’m embarrassed,” said Incognito, adding that Martin used the same racist term “a lot.”
“I’m embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and our teammates communicate. It’s vulgar. It’s not right. … I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised when people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.”
Incognito said he never sensed that football or the locker-room culture were getting to Martin.
“As his best friend on the team, that’s what has me miffed — how I missed this,” Incognito said. “I never saw it coming.”
Long labeled one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, Incognito acknowledged his reputation for out-of-bounds behavior — and the impact the much-quoted, threatening voicemail has had on his image.
“It sounds terrible. It sounds like I’m a racist pig. It sounds like I’m a meathead. It sounds a lot of things that it’s not. … If you go just by all the knucklehead stuff I’ve done in the past, you’re sitting in your home and thinking, ‘This guy is a loose cannon. This guy is a terrible person. This guy is a racist.’ That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Incognito said if he met with Martin and his family, he would apologize for anything they took as malicious.