A lot of TV talk this weekend will be devoted to the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, but that doesn't mean the rest of the NFL has been packed up and put into deep freeze until next fall. And nowhere is that more obvious than NBC, which aired the first interview with former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin since he left the team last October.
Martin created headlines last fall when he abruptly left the Dolphins and reportedly checked himself into a Florida hospital to be treated for emotional distress. The NFL subsequently launched an investigation into alleged bullying by teammate Richie Incognito. Incognito was suspended from the team in November, and the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Martin broke his silence and spoke to NBC News' Tony Dungy in an interview that aired on "Today" and on NBCSN's "Pro Football Talk."
Martin told Dungy, "There was persistent comments of a racial nature, aggressive sexual comments related to my sister and my mother. I've spoken to my former teammates in other locker rooms across the NFL and I asked them, does this stuff go on? Is this normal rookie hazing? The consensus was, this is not normal."
Though Incognito was the focus of media attention based on specific incidents with Martin, Martin says that Incognito was not the only player involved.
"I think it was the culture," Martin said. "I don't think there's a place to disrespect people in a professional sport."
Martin said that he had conversations with coaches immediately above him in the organization, but said he never approached Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.
"I was trying with all my being to do whatever I could to be a member of this culture and of our unit of an offensive line," Martin said.
Despite leaving the team and his criticisms leveled against the hazing culture, Martin says he's eager to return to playing in the NFL.
"This is what I love to do," Martin said. "I don't know what I would do if I wasn't playing football."