Jonathan Martin’s abuse at the hands of his Dolphins teammates was not only emotional, but physical as well.
That’s according to David Cornwell, Martin’s new attorney who announced his arrival to the all-consuming controversy with a blistering statement late Thursday.
“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue,” said Cornwell, citing Martin’s football exploits with the Dolphins and at Stanford. “The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates.
“For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment,” Cornwell continued. “This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying.”
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The statement claimed that as a member of the Dolphins, Martin sustained a malicious physical attack by an unnamed teammate. And he was subjected to a locker room taunt in which his tormenter boasted of having unprotected group sex with his sister.
“Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice,” Cornwell added. “Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.”
The Dolphins had no immediate response to the latest allegations.
Earlier in a busy day, Pro Football Talk reported Jeff Ireland told Martin, through Martin’s emissaries, to punch Richie Incognito to resolve their differences.
The website stated that the Dolphins general manager was contacted by Martin’s agents after Oct. 28, which is when Martin abruptly left the team. The website had previously reported that the call came before Martin left the team — a critical revision.
Citing multiple sources, the website reported that Ireland was told by Ken Zuckerman — Martin’s agent — about how Incognito was mistreating Martin.
Ireland, the story continued, suggested that Martin physically confront Incognito. The word “punch” was specifically mentioned, the website reported.
The leak’s result meant the Dolphins were swamped with another day of bad news, just the latest example of what Brian Hartline called media bullying the day before.
“They’re attacking our coach, they’re attacking the rest of the people in this locker room, and they have the mic last,” Hartline said. “We were at a point where we weren’t told to say anything. We weren’t going to say anything. You guys expected that.
“And now we can say our opinion and really protect ourselves from being bullied from you guys, because we weren’t talking,” he continued. “We weren’t fighting back. No one said a word. You had no comments from Richie; you had no comments from us, and we just had to sit back and listen to it for a couple days. We’re kind of tired of it.”
Dolphins players are particularly frustrated with the assassination of the team’s character by anonymous sources.
“It sucks because you never know what’s going on,” cornerback Brent Grimes said. “You just hear, ‘Sources say, sources say.’
“If you really feel what you’re saying is true, people say it; they’re not trying to hide on it.”
A day earlier, Dolphins players, in near-unanimity, supported Incognito over Martin, saying the two were good friends. They did so against Joe Philbin’s orders from Monday.
Former Dolphins lineman Lydon Murtha, who was in camp with Incognito and Martin last year, penned an open letter for TheMMQB.com along the same lines.
“I don’t believe Richie bullied Jonathan Martin,” Murtha wrote. “If you really know who Richie is, he’s ... far from a racist.”
Murtha depicted Martin as an aloof teammate who couldn’t handle normal locker room antics, and Incognito had no filter.
Murtha also tried to provide an explanation about reports that Incognito coerced Martin to spend $15,000 for a trip to Las Vegas he didn’t attend. He said Martin backed out of a pre-paid, long-planned annual outing, and ultimately paid what he originally agreed to.
Finally, the NFL Players Association, which like the NFL is looking into the matter, weighed in again Thursday.
“I continue to be in touch with players in Miami, their representatives and player leadership, and I look forward to information that defines the full scope of the NFL’s investigation,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “Every NFL player should expect safe and professional working conditions. The NFLPA has taken steps to ensure that every one of our affected members is represented. It is our duty as a union to learn the full facts, protect the interests of players involved and hold management accountable to the highest standards of fairness and transparency.”