Several of Jonathan Martin’s Miami Dolphins teammates spoke up in support of the offensive tackle after a report that bullying and an “abusive enrivonment” led to his decision to leave the team.
“Obviously, we care about J-Mart a lot; we just want him to be all right,” said Tyson Clabo, who replaced Martin in Thursday night’s 22-20 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (via ESPN). “I want him to come back to work. He’s a talented, young football player. I can’t say what he’s feeling. But I know if and when he wants to come back, I will be there to shake his hand.”
Martin left after an incident in the team’s cafeteria this week, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, and that wasn’t the only one involving him in what Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported was an “abusive environment.” Martin, a second-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2012, had repeatedly been teased and bullied by teammates who often referred to him as “Big Weirdo,” Marvez writes. The final straw came Monday when Martin, the son of two Harvard-educated lawyers, sat down with teammates, who got up and left him. Martin left the team and is, Glazer reports, with family while he deals with the situation. The NFL Players Association, Marvez reports, is monitoring the situation.
Marvez cites that a source says the Dolphins were aware that “the cruel actions of some teammates toward Martin went well beyond the customary hazing sometimes given to NFL rookies and youngsters.” Coach Joe Philbin declined to comment beyond reading a statement after the game.
“What I’d like to say in regards to Jonathan, any player with an injury or illness, our concern is for the health of the individual,” Philbin said. “In respect to Jonathan, he’s been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Several members of the team told ESPN that Martin would be welcomed back. Martin has not commented, other than to post on Facebook. “Happy Halloween! Don’t believe everything you read,” he wrote, according to Pro Football Talk. (PFT said it confirmed that the page, which is restricted to friends, belongs to Martin.) “Opinions are like ——–. Everybody has one.”
The Dolphins manage to claw their way back to a game above .500, with a 22-20 overtime win over the Bengals. The victory margin came when the Dolphins sacked Andy Dalton in the end zone.