Well, that did not take long. After four months of interviews and investigative work, attorney Ted Wells submitted to the NFL his report on the Miami Dolphins' locker room culture, including the "patterns of harassment" endured by tackle Jonathan Martin, tackle Andrew McDonald, and an unnamed Assistant Trainer. Two days after its release, players are already lining up to refute the report.
McDonald, who in the report was identified as "Player A" was said to have endured homophobic name-calling along with "improper touching." It culminated with McDonald being given a male blow up doll by offensive line coach Jim Turner. The report detailed how all of these items demeaned McDonald and laid out a portion of the "patterns of harassment," with Turner, guard Richie Incognito, guard John Jerry, and center Mike Pouncey all involved.
Brent Tessler, McDonald's agent, appeared on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" yesterday, explaining (via NFL.com), "The things that were done were done in a humorous and maybe off-color way, but not in a way that at all made Andrew feel bullied or abused or anything of that nature."
"Well, if you just take the report at its words, naturally it appears that coach Turner participated in some behavior that could be seen as insensitive or not becoming of a man of his position within the organization," Tessler continued. "But according to Andrew, he absolutely loves coach Turner."
Tessler added that McDonald characterizes Turner as "one of the best people and coaches he's ever played for."
Tackle Bryant McKinnie also weighed in on the situation, telling SiriusXM NFL Radio, "I don't feel like bullying was the term because I don't feel like nobody physically harmed (Martin) or made him do anything. He always had an option to say yes or no. It was never like he got bullied and he was fearing for his life."
"It went from keeping it to yourself to just letting the whole world know how you feel. So now you kind of blindsided some of our coaches and everybody, because everybody wasn't aware," McKinnie added. "If you're sending messages back and stuff, and you're kind of joking and they think you're joking back with them, they don't see it either. I just think it was a lack of communication."
What's interesting about these two is that they don't have to be making comments. McDonald did not need to publicly identify himself as "Player A," though everyone in and around the Dolphins did know who he was. He's a member of the Carolina Panthers and has no ties to the Dolphins, outside of having spent time on their practice squad. McKinnie is scheduled to be a free agent, and though it has not been ruled out, it is unlikely Miami will re-sign the player they traded for mid-season last year.
These are not the players deeply involved in the situation; they are not Incognito, Pouncey, or Jerry. They are not Turner. They do not have to say anything. Yet, they felt they did.
The NFL has to hope that all of the drama and scandal surrounding the Dolphins and this report will die down eventually. They could be considering punishment for the team and the individual players. But, with players not even involved in the report feeling the need to speak out against it, there has to at least be some questions being raised in the NFL offices.
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