Still, it’s no slam dunk for Martin.
For example, one allegation is that Martin forked over $15,000 for veteran Dolphins teammates to take a trip to Las Vegas that he did not attend. That could be viewed in court as being a willing participant and make a harassment lawsuit harder to prove.
If, Jarvis said, “Martin seemed to be going along with the conduct willingly, then Martin cannot now change his mind and decide that he didn’t want to be part of the culture.”
For Incognito himself, the main issue would likely be his NFL playing career. He too could file a grievance with the players association over his suspension by the Dolphins, which could eventually turn into outright dismissal from the team, and eventually win back a job somewhere.
Tamara Lave, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the current national focus on bullying and hazing in schools and at the workplace would figure in Martin’s favor should he take legal action. Especially, she said, because he is a physically imposing NFL player — 6-foot-5, 312 pounds — who is typically perceived as having few weaknesses.
“The fact that you have a 300-pound man who feels so threatened and uncomfortable that he leaves, that’s an indication of how serious it was,” Lave said.
From the criminal standpoint, former prosecutor David S. Weinstein said it’s possible but not likely that Incognito could be charged with extortion if he made threats to force Martin to pay the $15,000 for the Vegas trip. Another option would be written threats to do bodily harm, based on Incognito’s texts to Martin making threats about his mother.
“However, I don’t really see the (state prosecutors) going after Incognito, but I could be wrong,” Weinstein said.
Florida does have an anti-hazing law, but Jarvis said it applies only to educational institutions and not adult workplaces.