As the NFL investigation into the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito-Miami Dolphins affair winds down, here is the timeline of the debacle:
Oct. 28, 2013: Martin, the Dolphins’ 2012 second-round pick out of Stanford, stormed out of the team cafeteria after a hazing incident in which his offensive line teammates got up and left the table together when Martin sat down to eat with them.
Teammates later said it was a common prank among offensive linemen, and Martin had even participated in the past.
But on this particular day Martin left the team, checked himself into a mental hospital, then eventually went home to California.
The Dolphins, who started the season 3-0, were already reeling when Martin departed. A day earlier, after a loss at New England capped a four-game losing streak, center Mike Pouncey was surprisingly served with a subpoena in the bowels of Gillette Stadium. It required him to testify before a grand jury relating to the murder case against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, a friend and former college teammate and roommate of Pouncey at Florida.
Things were about to get much worse, however.
Oct. 31: Fox Sports reported Martin left the team because of “persistent bullying and teasing from some teammates” that had gone on since his rookie season.
Nov. 1: ESPN reported the NFL Players Association was looking into Martin’s claim of harassment/bullying, and it said Incognito was the target of the probe.
Incognito sent Martin a text, it was later revealed, asking him what was going on with that report. Martin replied, “I got nothing to do with it man I haven’t said anything to anyone”
Nov. 2: The NFLPA released a statement saying it wasn’t investigating Incognito.
That same day, it was later revealed, Incognito sent Martin a text message asking him to clear his name.
Nov. 3: The Dolphins released a statement at 9:05 a.m. ET that said, in part, “The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally. The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate.”
At 4:40 p.m., the Dolphins released another statement that said, in part, “We received notification today from Jonathan’s representation about allegations of player misconduct.”
At 11:36 p.m., the Dolphins released a third statement that began, “The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.”
The Dolphins also asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to start an investigation into the matter and Goodell appointed Ted Wells, a New York-based attorney.
Nov. 4: ESPN reported the transcript of an April 2013 voicemail in which Incognito used a racial slur to address Martin and also threatened to slap Martin’s “real mother across the face,” among other things. Here’s the transcript:
"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
The Sun Sentinel reported on Nov. 5 that Incognito was told by Dolphins coaches to “toughen up” Martin and Incognito might have taken things too far.
“Richie is the type of guy where if he's on your team you love him,” a teammate told the Sentinel.”"If he's not on your team, you hate him. Every team needs a guy like that.”
By now, a national media horde that included news channels such as CNN and MSNBC had descended upon the Dolphins lockerroom. The usual local media contingent of about 25 swelled to more than 100 with almost every question about the Martin-Incognito scandal.
Nov. 7: Martin’s attorney, David Cornwell, issued a statement that said, in part, Martin “endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.”
Incognito, by the way, was also found to have harassed a female volunteer at a Dolphins charity golf event during the off-season. The Dolphins were aware of the incident. That matter was eventually settled out of court. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the team took “immediate action” against Incognito but wouldn’t reveal what was done.
Nov. 11: Prior to the Dolphins game at Tampa Bay, owner Steve Ross held a press conference and said the team’s main concern is Martin. Ross also and announced him and coach Joe Philbin met with Martin the night Martin left the team.
“Jonathan and I have exchanged texts as recently as this weekend, and I am scheduled to meet with him in person to see how he is doing and to listen to his concerns,” Ross said.
That meeting was eventually blocked because Ross planned to meet with Martin before Martin spoke with NFL investigators.
Incognito, who secured attorney Mark Schamel, filed a grievance through the union, the opening line of which reportedly said, “If any conduct has been detrimental to the team, it is the manner in which Mr. Martin's representatives, including Mr. (David) Cornwell on behalf of his client, have elected to vilify Mr. Incognito and the entire Dolphins organization in the court of public opinion."
Incognito and the team eventually agreed to set aside the grievance pending release of the NFL investigation.
When Dolphins players had their chance to speak publicly they overwhelming supported for Incognito in the episode.
“It’s like they say,” wide receiver Brian Hartline said, “the people who can hurt you the most are the ones closest to you, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he thought Incognito and Martin were best friends. He found Martin’s allegations surprising. He said there were no warning signs of a problem.
“I hear all these warning signs that we were supposed to see,” Tannehill said. “He was the same guy all the time. Pretty quiet, just kind of went about his business, joked around here and there, but overall a quiet guy.
“So it’s tough to see warning signs when a guy doesn’t change.”
Tackle Will Yeatman, Martin’s close friend and his roommate for road games, said he never saw signs of a problem between Incognito and Martin.
“I thought they were very close,” Yeatman said, “and Jonathan and I were also very close.”
The NFL’s investigators, led by Wells, eventually interviewed every Dolphins player, as well as coaches, and staff members during their six-day stay at the team’s facility.
Since the beginning of 2014: In the last few weeks and days, both Incognito and Martin have granted national TV interviews so that people hear their side of this situation in their words. More text messages have been released. The sniping and allegations, which, early in this scandal included a claim Incognito extorted Martin out of $15,000 after Martin backed out of a trip to Las Vegas, haven’t ended.
Last week, Martin told former NFL coach Tony Dungy during an interview on NBC Sports Network he “felt trapped” with the Dolphins and had to get away from the situation. Martin said he wished he had better “tools” to deal with the problem. Schamel issued a strong statement on Incognito’s behalf saying Martin, as a professional athlete and someone with a strong family, had a better support system than most people.
The NFL report on this subject was the league’s answer to what happened in the Martin-Incognito episode.
But it might not be the final time this scandal makes headlines.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun