NFL Bullying Scandal Shines Light On Locker Room Behavior

Dolphins PlayersSuspended Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito has given his first full-length interview since allegations that he bullied teammate Jonathan Martin surfaced last week, saying that he once received a text from Martin that read “I will murder your whole… family.” “People don’t know how Jon and I communicate with each other,” Incognito told Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, who conducted the interview, portions of which aired on the network’s “Fox NFL Sunday” football pregame show. Incognito recalled that he got the text from Martin a week before the bullying allegations were made, but never thought of it as a serious threat considering the way they interact with each other. “I knew it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That just puts into context how we communicate with one another,” Incognito said.

Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins late last Sunday for conduct detrimental to the team. Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 28 and claimed that he had been the victim of harassment and bullying by Incognito. Among the evidence that surfaced was a voicemail in which Incognito called the biracial Martin a “half-[n-word]” and vowed to slap Martin’s mother. During the Fox interview, Incognito admitted to leaving that voicemail. “When I see that voicemail, when I see those words come up across the screen, I’m embarrassed by it,” Incognito told Fox. “I’m not a racist. And to judge me by that one word is wrong. In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it’s friend to friend on a voicemail. All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood. The racism, the bad words, that’s what I regret most, but that’s a product of the environment. That’s something that we use all the time.” Martin is scheduled to discuss the case late next week with a special investigator hired by the NFL.

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