While the Miami Dolphins were able to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime Thursday night thanks to Cameron Wake sacking Andy Dalton in the endzone for a safety, the news around the Dolphins the past few days has been centered on offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, and the potential bullying that led to him leaving the team.
Everything started on Monday, when Martin was listed on the Miami practice report as a non-participant due to an illness. He was listed the same way on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer broke a story that was completely unexpected. Martin's illness was not some flu bug that had him home in bed. Instead, it appears Martin had left the team following an emotional breakdown.
Back on Monday, it appears some of the Dolphins players played a prank on Martin in the team's cafeteria, getting up and leaving the table as Martin sat down. Martin then slammed his tray down and walked out of the facility. He then went to a treatment facility in hopes of finding a way to deal with the emotional situation he was fighting.
Exactly why the practical joke led to that kind of reaction, or what sort of emotional strain Martin has been suffering through are not known. However, according to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington on Friday, the team is not expecting Martin to return for "several weeks" as he deals with the personal issues.
All Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has said on the matter came during his post game press conference Thursday night. "I'd like to say, in regard to Jonathan, that any play with an injury or illness, our primary concern is for the health of the individual," Philbin told reporters. "And with respect to Jonathan, he's been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him, and really that's all I'm going to say on the matter."
Darlington also reported yesterday that Martin and Dolphins guard Richie Incognito had exchanged 19 text messages in a conversation that included Martin telling Incognito, "Yeah, I'm good man. It's insane bro, but just know I don't blame you guys at all. It's just the culture around football, and the locker room got to me a little."
Martin may not blame Incognito, but the NFL Players Association may not be so quick to dismiss the Dolphins' guard. According to an ESPN report, the NFLPA is investigating the situation with Martin, and is focusing on Incognito and his role in the "alleged harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin."
Philbin was asked about potential bullying at his media availability on Friday. "I'm aware of this report," he explained. "I can say without question that we emphasize a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another. Any behavior that deviates from that is inconsistent from the values of our organization. That's all I'll say in regards to that."
Then asked if he had seen anything first hand that he would consider bullying, Philbin added, "Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated."
We may never have all the details about what has happened in this situation. Whatever the case, Martin getting healthy is absolutely the top priority in this situation.
[Hat tip cnog4]
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