Jonathan Martin began to tell his side of the story Thursday night, shortly after a report of another incident involving his alleged tormenter surfaced.
The Miami Dolphins offensive lineman, who left the team early last week over alleged hazing by linemate Richie Incognito, hired attorney David Cornwell, who issued a statement on his client’s behalf that contained a disturbing new allegation and indicated that there was bullying behavior by teammates–plural. The statement (via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio):
“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue. Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh’s “smash mouth” brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck’s blind side.
“The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.
“Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.”
Cornwell’s statement concludes with a quote in which an unnamed teammate threatens to sexually assault Martin’s sister. (You can read it here.)
Earlier Thursday, a Miami TV station reported that last May that Incognito allegdly harassed a female volunteer at a charity golf tournament, citing a police report that says he touched her private parts with a golf club and had been drinking.
“After that, he proceeded to lean up against her buttocks with his private parts as if dancing, saying ‘Let it rain! Let it rain!’” the report states. “He finally finished his inappropriate behavior by emptying bottled water in her face.”
No charges were filed and the woman told the ABC affiliate that she could not discuss the matter because she had signed a confidentiality agreement.
The NFL has appointed Ted Wells, a New York-based lawyer with a number of high-profile cases on his resume, to investigate the Miami mess and report back to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who promises to release the findings. Wells has defended former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli, Wall Street financier Michael Milken, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s one-time chief of staff, who was convicted on charges that he lied to the FBI and a federal grand jury.
As with the New Orleans Saints scandal of a couple of years ago, any hope of containment appears to have evaporated for the league, with allegations that now involve the team’s front office, too. On Thursday Florio reported that, when told of harassment allegations by Martin’s agent, General Manager Jeff Ireland suggested that Martin should “punch” Incognito.