NFLPA looks for Martin, Incognito to end public bickering

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As the saga between the Miami Dolphins, Jonathan Martin, and Richie Incognito continues into its fourth month, the NFL Players Association weighed in yesterday to ask the two players to end their public he-said/he-said argument.

Sometime next week, once the Super Bowl is concluded and the NFL is officially into its offseason, the results of attorney Ted Wells' investigation into the locker room culture of the Miami Dolphins and bullying allegations levied by Jonathan Martin toward Richie Incognito will be released. However, that has not stopped the story, which first broke when Martin left the Dolphins on October 28, from rearing its head in the middle of the week leading up to the championship game. Now, the NFL Players Association is looking to make it stop.

On Tuesday, Martin sat down with former NFL coach Tony Dungy in his first interview since his sudden desertion. During the interview, which aired Wednesday night on NBC Sports Network, Martin again alleged that he was the victim of bullying, stating that it was worse than the normal rookie hazing and that it was directed at him more than at any other player, but never going into details as to the exact form of the hazing (other than pointing to foul, racial, or sexual language), nor did he say who was involved in bullying him.

Then, Wednesday, Incognito fired back. His lawyer pointed to similar, vulgar text messages sent from Martin to Incognito as proof that there was no bullying, but rather an admittedly crude friendship. Incognito's camp also stated that Martin did not raise any bullying allegations until after he was demoted from starting left tackle and moved to the right side.

Now, DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, is looking for that to be the last public salvo between the two members of the union. "I do not believe that it is in the best interest of either player to play these charges, countercharges, publicly," Smith said in a New York press conference on Thursday, according to the Palm Beach Post's Andrew Abramson. "We have an expectation on how our young men should conduct themselves in the business of football."

Smith also explain that the NFLPA has conducted its own investigation into the situation, but admitted that Martin did not cooperate with the NFLPA. Smith stated that Incognito and the Dolphins did speak with the NFLPA's investigators.

"Rather than deal with his poor on-field performance and myriad other issues, Martin is now hiding behind false allegations. The result undermines the real problems of bullying and demeans what is a very real problem for many young people," Incognito's attorney Mark Schamel said Thursday.

The Super Bowl kicks off Sunday. The Wells report from the NFL's investigation is set to be publicly released sometime thereafter. Smith said the results of the NFLPA's investigation could be made public if the players choose. He also said the union would likely make recommendations for locker room conduct based on their findings.

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