News

Dolphins owner to meet Martin on bullying complaint

Dolphins owner to meet Martin on bullying complaint

BULLY ALLEGATIONS: Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) looks over plays during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Aug. 24, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said on Monday he had arranged a meeting for Wednesday with Jonathan Martin, the player who left the team saying he was emotionally distraught over being bullied by team mates.

Ross said he was “appalled” by some of the revelations in the case that has captured widespread public attention over the so-called clubhouse culture on the Dolphins and other National Football League teams.

Fellow lineman Richie Incognito, who was singled out by Martin, has already been suspended indefinitely by the National Football League team, and the NFL has announced an independent investigation into the matter.

“I’d like to hear from him (Martin) about what happened and what made him feel that way,” Ross told a news conference in Tampa before Monday night’s game between the Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first public comments on the case.

“And what we could have done to prevent this from happening.”

Ross said he had utmost confidence in his staff including coach Joe Philbin, but said that if the independent probe found there needed to be changes, “then there will be changes.”

Martin, a second-round draft pick in 2012 who started all 16 games last year and the first seven games this season, left the team at the end of October suffering from emotional distress and representatives of his later informed the club of the alleged bullying and abuse by team mates.

Thousands of dollars were demanded to pay for dinners and a Las Vegas outing organized by veteran players, according to claims made by Martin’s representatives that also included other forms of verbal abuse.

A text message sent from Incognito to Martin, laced with racial epithets and violent threats, that was published particularly disgusted the team owner.

“I was appalled, I think anybody would be appalled, when you first read that text that was reported,” Ross said. “I didn’t realize people speak that way to people.

“We have to hear all the facts in this story,” added Ross. “There’s so many different things that are being said. I’m going to meet with Jonathan Martin face to face and hear what he has to say.”

Ross said he also planned to meet with Incognito. “He deserves to be heard,” the owner said.

Incognito has apologized for his insensitive remarks but added he was shocked at Martin’s reaction.

“People don’t know how Jon and I communicate with each other,” Incognito told Fox Sports on Sunday. “I’ve taken stuff too far. I did not intend to hurt him.”

Ross said he had established a committee to advise him on proper clubhouse conduct comprised of former NFL coaches Tony Dungy and Don Shula, and former players Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin.

“These are people that have as much respect as anybody to play or coach the game,” said Ross. “They can give me advice on a personal code of conduct for the locker room.

“I think in any locker room, any workplace, every voice needs to be heard. Obviously, there was a voice that we were not hearing.”

Recent Headlines

in Music

Zac Brown Band scraps weekend show over voice problems

Zac Brown as Zac Brown Band performs during Music Midtown 2014 at Piedmont Park on Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014, in Atlanta.

The Zac Brown Band were forced to pull out of a show in Indiana on Saturday after frontman Zac Brown lost…

in Lifestyle

60 years on Las Vegas Strip, Riviera closes

This Feb. 16, 2015 photo shows the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Owners of the hotel which opened in 1955 have agreed to sell the property to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tourism agency confirmed the potential purchase Tuesday, Feb. 17 after days of not commenting on rumors of a deal.

The aging Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is expected to close its doors at noon.

in Entertainment

Annie Leibovitz snaps ‘Star Wars’ cast

Star Wars Force Awakens

See the new photos of the upcoming "Star Wars" film, shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

in Viral Videos

Councilman forgets to turn off his mic in the bathroom

25-overlay1

The city's Mayor Pro Tem tries to keep it professional, but her fellow council member's trip to the bathroom is just too distracting.

in Entertainment, Lifestyle, World

Britain’s newborn princess has been named

Britain's Prince William, right, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for the media with their newborn daughter outside St. Mary's Hospital's exclusive Lindo Wing, London, Saturday, May 2, 2015. The Duchess gave birth to the Princess on Saturday morning.

Britain's newborn princess has been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.