Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

NFL: Report details harassment in Dolphins locker room

The investigation found that Richie Incognito (left) took the lead in harassing teammate Jonathan Martin.
The investigation found that Richie Incognito (left) took the lead in harassing teammate Jonathan Martin. AP
An investigation into the racially charged Miami Dolphins bullying scandal detailed widespread harassment in the team's locker room that extended beyond the two players at the center of the probe.

The NFL-ordered report stated there was a "pattern of harassment" committed by at least three players and extended to two lineman and an assistant trainer, all targets of vicious taunts and racist insults.

Lawyer Ted Wells released the report Friday, saying guard John Jerry and center Mike Pouncey followed Richie Incognito's lead in harassing Jonathan Martin, who left the team in October. They threatened to rape his sister, called him a long list of slurs, and bullied him for not being "black enough."

In a statement e-mailed by a league spokesman, the NFL did not make any mention of possible punishment stemming from the case. The league confirmed only that it had received the report and said it appreciated the Dolphins' cooperation with the investigation. Wells said he does not intend to comment further.

Martin is biracial, Incognito is white, and Jerry and Pouncey are black.

Martin's agent, Kenneth Zuckerman, said his client felt "vindicated" by the report.

"He feels a great sense of relief," Zuckerman said. "Jonathan Martin is a great man and he's only shown me that he is very honest since the day I met him. He loves football and is eager to get back on the field, regardless of what team he plays for."

Incognito's attorney, Mark Schamel, released a statement calling Wells' report "replete with errors" and said that Martin "was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins' offensive line."

Martin, who has two years left on his contract with the Dolphins, declined interview requests.

Incognito was suspended in November, but Pouncey and Jerry remained starters throughout the season.

The report mentioned another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer who also routinely came under attack from the trio. Neither was identified in the report.

The report chronicled Martin's struggle to deal with a "pattern of harassment," including emotional text exchanges with his parents and a description of him crying in the bathroom after one particularly painful attack.

Martin also told investigators that he "believed that trying to engage in a physical confrontation with these three - whom he viewed as a united group - would only make matters worse." The inquiry said Martin was taunted and ridiculed almost daily.

After Martin left the team, Incognito boasted about "breaking Jmart" in a notebook the linemen used to tally fines and bonuses among themselves. When the investigation began, Incognito asked another player to destroy the book, saying "They're going to suspend me."

The other harassed player was "subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching," while the assistant trainer, who was born in Japan, was subjected to racial slurs.

Goodell's pay

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2 million in 2012, according to tax returns the league has submitted.

Goodell earned $35.1 million in salary, bonus, and pension compensation. Based on IRS reporting guidelines, his total 2012 compensation includes a $5 million incentive payment and a $4.1 million pension payment from the 2011 lockout year that was paid in 2012.

The league's revenues have approached $10 billion and its TV ratings dominate all other programming.

"Commissioner Goodell's compensation reflects the value of his leadership and the success of the NFL at the highest levels," said Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, a member of the league's compensation committee. "His significant accomplishments continue to strengthen our game, our business and our leading position in the sports industry."

League general counsel Jeff Pash was second on the list of executives' pay with $7.86 million, and he had $1.23 million in deferred compensation.

"The NFL owners determined that the NFL under Goodell is the best-run sports league and has a great future," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, and close observer of the NFL. "They felt Roger's performance warranted his compensation to at least be comparable to the highest paid commissioner, which has historically been [baseball's] Bud Selig."

Selig is believed to earn a salary in excess of $20 million.

Associated Press
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