Coaches asked Incognito to toughen up Martin, report says

Robert Mayer - USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito indefinitely as they investigate allegations of misconduct in his treatment of tackle Jonathan Martin. According to a report yesterday, that treatment may have started at the request of coaches to toughen up Martin. However, it seems to have gone way past the intent.

Back during the Organized Team Activities for the Miami Dolphins, tackle Jonathan Martin missed two days of the voluntary workouts. The Dolphins coaches, according to a report from the Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly, approached guard Richie Incognito, coming off his first Pro Bowl and the unit's leader, asking him to make a phone call to try to get Martin back into practice. From there, a pattern of harassment and intimidation seems to have been born.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association states that OTAs are voluntary, with a team not being able to punish a player for skipping them. Coaches often use veteran players to convince younger players to report, or report back, to OTAs. In this case, the Dolphins coaches used Incognito.

According to Kelly's sources, the coaches - though it does not specify head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, offensive line coach Jim Turner, or any other coach by name - also asked Incognito to toughen up Martin. According to the same sources, the feeling is Incognito took the instructions much further than anyone anticipated.

A report last night from ESPN's Adam Schefter stated that Philbin did not learn about the alleged player misconduct until this past Sunday, when Martin's representation complained to the team. Whether that means the "toughen up Martin" order came from someone else, or if the team just did not realize how far Incogntio was taken it,including threats to slap Martin's mom, saying he wanted to defecate in Martin's mouth, and calling Martin a "half-n*****."

"Richie is the type of guy where if he's on your team you love him," an unnamed teammate told Kelly. "If he's not on your team, you hate him. Every team needs a guy like that."

The NFL is currently investigating the situation in the team's locker room, at the request of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. The team, to include the coaches, are said to be fully cooperating with the league to ensure they can solve whatever the root issue to this problem is.

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