NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells released his report detailing the harassment of Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Friday. The report concluded that bullying from Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry did lead to Martin's decision to leave the team, as well contribute to his mental health and suicidal thoughts.
Details revealed by Wells' report do not paint a flattering picture of the Dolphins' locker room. In fact, it's downright ugly. Some of the most jaw-dropping parts of the report are listed below. Warning: These quotes contain offensive language.
The harassment started in 2012, Martin's rookie year with the team, and it quickly became a regular part of the locker room environment:
The "you're my bitch" comments added to name-calling that had begun in 2012, Martin's rookie season, when Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey began regularly calling Martin a "cunt," a "bitch," a "pussy" and a "faggot." Martin was not surprised to hear these words used by football players, but believed they were frequently hurled at him with demeaning intent. The evidence shows that these words -- at least at times -- were spoken to Martin in a cutting tone or with the intent to humiliate him. According to Martin, these types of taunts were a routine part of his life with the Dolphins.
Martin sent texts to his family and friends castigating himself for not being able to stand up to the harassment from his teammates. Those include:
I figured out a major source of my anxiety. I'm a push over, a people pleaser. I avoid confrontation whenever I can, I always want everyone to like me. I let people talk about me, say anything to my face, and I just take it, laugh it off, even when I know they are intentionally trying to disrespect me. I mostly blame the soft schools I went to,
which fostered within me a feeling that I'm a huge pussy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied
every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size. I would never fight back, just get sad &
feel like no one wanted to be my friend, when in fact I was just being socially awkward. Most people in that situation are witty & quick with sarcastic replies, I never have been.
Threatening Martin's sister
From Incognito's texts to Martin referring to his sister:
- We are going to run train on your sister. She loves me. I'm going to fuck her without a condom and cum in her cunt.
- Hey, Jmart's sister is in town. Get the plastic sheets ready, she's a squirter.
- I'm going to bang the shit out of her and spit on her and treat her like shit.
- Hear your sister has a wolf-puss. A fat, hairy pussy.
There was more:
Martin also recalled that the comments about his sister were sometimes accompanied by obscene physical gestures. For example, he claimed that on the practice field, Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey would call his sister a "squirter" and then squirt water onto the field from their water bottles, and that while engaged in certain warm-up stretching exercises, they would simulate having sex with his sister. Incognito confirmed these allegations.
Assistant trainer harassed
Martin was one of three Dolphins employees who were regularly treated this way by Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry. The others were an unnamed offensive lineman and an assistant trainer from Japan, which was the subject of specific racial taunts from Incognito and the others.
From the report:
The Assistant Trainer was born in Japan and attended university there through 2001, before emigrating to the United States. Martin said that Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey directed racial slurs at the Assistant Trainer, calling him a "Jap," a "Chinaman" and a "chink"; referred to him as a "dirty communist" or a "North Korean"; made demands such as "give me some water you fucking chink"; spoke to him in a phony, mocking Asian accent, including asking for "rubby rubby sucky sucky"; and called his mother a "rub and tug masseuse." Martin also informed us that Incognito and Jerry taunted the Assistant Trainer by saying that they had had sex with his girlfriend.
That behavior included this incident:
On December 7, 2012, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey donned traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem (which the Assistant Trainer had given them) and jokingly threatened to harm the Assistant Trainer physically in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. According to Martin, the Assistant Trainer confided in him that he was upset about the Pearl Harbor comments, finding them derogatory toward his heritage.
The other offensive lineman, identified as Player A in Wells' report, was subjected to homophobic taunting from Incognito and his teammates. From the report:
Martin said that on one occasion, Pouncey physically restrained Player A and, in full view of other players, jokingly told Jerry to "come get some pussy," and that Jerry responded by touching Player A's buttocks in a way that simulated anal penetration. Pouncey and Jerry both denied this allegation. Given the seriousness of this allegation and the conflicting recollections, we decline to make any findings about this particular alleged incident.
Offensive line coach Jim Turner participated in the bullying as well, according to the report. Turner played dumb when asked about it:
During the 2012 Christmas season, Coach Turner gave all of the offensive linemen gift bags that included a variety of stocking stuffers. In each gift bag except for Player A's, Turner included a female "blow-up" doll; Player A's bag included a male doll. Martin and another player were surprised that Turner did this; Martin further said that he was offended that Turner had endorsed the humiliating treatment of Player A by participating in it. Incognito and others agreed that this incident with Coach Turner occurred. When interviewed, Turner was asked if he gave Player A a male blow-up doll. He replied, "I can't remember." We do not believe that Turner forgot this incident, which many others recalled.
The "fine book"
You'd think in the wake of the Saints bounty scandal that players would have learned a lesson about documenting their behavior. Not Richie Incognito. He kept a so-called "fine book" that listed amounts for what the report describes as "a variety of trivial and often sophomoric offenses, such as farting, arriving late for meetings, failing to provide candy, having 'stinky dreads' or wearing 'ugly ass shoes.'"
There were also fines for "breaking" Martin. Fines for Martin included "being a pussy."
More conversations between Incognito and his teammates that veered into casual racism, but didn't factor into the Martin situation, were also cited in Wells' report, including this exchange:
Player B: Especially if u plan living in Arizona in the future, that's exactly what you want
Incognito: Yea. For picking off zombies 32
Player B: Lol isn't that why we own any weapons!?
Incognito: That and black people
Player B: Mmm def all black ppl
Four days later, Incognito and Player B discussed rifle scopes in text messages.
Player B: Yes. That's a solid optic made specifically for a .308
Incognito: Perfect for shooting black people
Player B: Lol exactly
Player B: Or Jeff Ireland
Martin's mental health
Martin suffered from mental health issues before, stemming in part from bullying he had encountered in middle and high school. He had even contemplated suicide prior to joining the Dolphins. He experienced another bout of depression following the 2012 season. From a January 2013 text message to his mother:
I have really severe depression. There are many instances where I can't get out of bed. ... I'm really embarrassed to talk about it with anyone in person, I tried to with you when I was home but I couldn't do it. I've managed to keep it under control for the most part on my own. Anyways, I really do wanna take care of it, because it is debilitating & keeps me from reaching my potential in all facets of life.
Martin and his mother continued exchanges like this one and the one cited above through 2013. He continued to question his identity and describe his anguish to his mother in April of that year. He also contemplated quitting football.
From Martin to his mother:
This past year I've spent more and more time by myself, as I have felt increasingly different from people ... I thought college would be a good chance to grow and mature as a person, but I still find myself lost. Sometimes I very badly want to quit football, as I feel like it has ‘forced me' to act a certain way, to hang out with certain people, & prevented me from fully taking advantage of the social and cerebral advantages of college & experiencing new things and meeting new people. But it is the one thing that has kept me going, given me focus. One day I want to disappear, travel the world, and hopefully find myself, because as of today I don't know who I am. I am deeply troubled, I have been lying to myself saying that eventually I'll get over it. I won't.
I always wonder why I have these feelings. I'm unbelievably blessed, I am living a dream that I have had my entire life, that most people would die even for the 105 opportunity to be where I am. I have an amazing family, had a great upbringing. Why do I always feel this way? I really am getting increasingly tempted to just get in my car and leave Miami, live by myself for months or a year or two off the grid. But something holds me back every time, because part of me still loves football. But I am losing touch with that part more and more every day.
His mother responded:
I am so glad you shared this with me ... We will work through this together. My first thought is that I am glad you wrote this down as a way to start figuring it out. There are people in the world with their own insecurities and they tend to be bullies and confront people. Dealing with them can be a challenge. I think when you feel really good about yourself they won't bother you as much because you won't let them define you. This fits into wanting to please and be liked. Some people out there are not worth it.
His mother went further, encouraging her son to get professional help for his mental health and arranging an appointment with a Miami area psychologist. Martin visited the doctor once, but they did not meet a second time after the doctor concluded that he was not a "good fit" to treat the Dolphins lineman.
Martin leaves the team
Martin left the team after an incident in the cafeteria on Oct. 28. He checked himself into a hospital, before returning to California on Oct. 31. Several coaches, GM Jeff Ireland and teammates reached out to Martin during that time. So did Richie Incognito, whose texts Martin ignored initially.
He finally responded in this exchange on Nov. 1:
Incognito: How u doing buddy? Feeling better?? I miss us
Martin: Wassup man? The worlds gone crazy lol I'm good tho congrats on the win
Incognito: Thanks dude It's unbelievable all the attention this is getting. All that's important is that you feel better and know we miss u dude
Martin: Yeah I'm good man. It's insane bro but just know I don't blame you guys at all it's just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little.
Incognito provided the text exchange to NFL Network reporter Jeff Darlington, as reports of Incognito's involvement in the bullying of Martin increased. He wanted to "get out in front" of the story.
Hours after expressing his concern for Martin, Incognito had the following text exchange with Mike Pouncey:
Incognito: Fuck Jmart That faggot is never [allowed] back
Pouncey: Bro I said the same thing I can't even look at him the same he's a pussy
Incognito: My agent just asked if we held mandatory strip club meetings Jmart is fucking ratting on everyone
Pouncey: Lol wow are you serious he is a fuck boy
Pouncey: He's not welcome back bro I can't be around that fucking guy
Incognito: Fuck that guy if Ur not with [u]s Ur against us
Pouncey: No question bro he's a coward for snitching
Incognito: Snitches get stitches Blood in blood out Fucking guy
Pouncey: He's dead to me