Off of the field pressure: Personal documents released in regards to Incognito

The National Football League became intertwined into the allegations that Richie Incognito and two other Miami Dolphins starters bullied junior teammate, Jonathan Martin.  According to a report released February, 14, by NFL investigator Ted Wells, the allegations involved consisted of, “a pattern of harassment that included racial slurs and vicious sexual taunts about his mother and sister by three teammates.  His independent investigation entailed voluntarily produced documents such as e-mails, text messages, and team policies.  Conclusively, he determined that Richie Incognito, John Jerry, and Mike Pouncey engaged in a pattern of harassment towards Jonathan Martin as well as an offensive lineman and the assistant trainer.  The offensive lineman was faced with homophobic name-calling and inappropriate touching, whereas the trainer was victimized with racial derogatory language.  The documents discovered corroborate the alleged harassment, specifically through the text messages sent by Jonathan Martin to his parents.  The report also corroborates Jonathan Martin’s decision to leave the team was based upon the alleged harassment.

Coach Philbin’s interviews astounded many with his commitment to promoting integrity and accountability throughout the Dolphins organization by stating that he wished to remove Richie Incognito from his roster in 2012 when he was accused of harassing a volunteer during the team’s charity golf tournament.

A workplace conduct policy signed by the three athletes in 2013 prohibits “unwelcome contact jokes, comments and antics; generalizations and put-downs.”  Ted Wells as well as the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s independent investigations indicated that Martin was a victim of Workplace bullying as is legally defined.  They further conclude that Incognito had knowledge of the effect on Martin, but continued their actions.

Incognito Tweeted on February 12, “Dear Jon Martin…..The truth is going to bury you and your entire “camp”.  You could have told the truth the entire time. …Jon Martin—you started all of this when Kenny Zuckerman released the VM to ESPN.  The same VM we joked about with.  I’m guilty of being a loyal friend and good teammate.  I apologize for my poor language and rude remarks.  I’ve never denied it.”  His apologies continue with, “I apologize to all of the women out there that I offended with my text messages to my close personal friend.”

The aforementioned articles fail to include comments from the accused starters or Incognito himself, who has denied the allegations indicating that he considered his conduct to be jokes rather than in conflict with the Dolphin’s bullying mission.

The nearly 150-page report was released February 14, with warnings of questionable language.  Should this information be made available to the public?

How much pressure is too much when attempting to ignite a teammates’ anger so as to be channeled into competition.   Should the NFL invoke internal auditing to ensure that teams are appropriately following their harassment policies?

An analysis of a claim for harassment in the workplace soon to come.

-Tiffany Milstid-