Three months after the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal engulfed the team, Jonathan Martin is finally speaking out — and at the most strategic time.
Martin has granted an interview with NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy — the former NFL coach and member of the Dolphins’ blue-ribbon panel tasked with drafting the team’s locker room code of conduct.
A short excerpt of the conversation aired Tuesday night on NBC Nightly News, with the full interview appearing on Wednesday’s Today show. The Super Bowl, the NFL’s showcase event, is this Sunday — ensuring Martin’s remarks get maximum coverage.
Martin explained that although there’s “vulgar language” in every locker room, what he experienced was beyond the norm.
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“I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation,” Martin said in the excerpt. “But I felt trapped, like I didn’t have a way to make it right.”
And so, he left the team, went into emotional counseling and publicly accused his teammates of verbal and physical abuse.
Racially insensitive text messages sent from teammate Richie Incognito to Martin were made public, leading to Incognito’s indefinite suspension and triggering an independent investigation conducted on behalf of the NFL. The Dolphins’ locker room has since supported Incognito, and rejects the idea that Martin was bullied.
“The report will be released after the Super Bowl,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said. “I have an idea what will be in it. I’ve been in communication with the NFL. I’ve spoken with [NFL investigator] Ted Wells who is handling the investigation.”
“I haven’t seen the report,” Ross continued. “I don’t know exactly its conclusions. ... I don’t want to really speculate.
“When it comes out, we’ll do what has to be done but we’ve already ... in my mind I know what direction we’re going. Stay tuned.”
Ross also said that he doubts either Martin or Incognito will be back with the team — then immediately retracted the statement.
Incognito is in the final weeks of his contract. Martin is expected to be traded this offseason — assuming the Dolphins can find a partner.
Offensive line coach Jim Turner, believed to be a subject of the investigation, remains employed with the team.
However, the Dolphins have added veteran line coach John Benton to their staff in recent days.