Sources: Incognito bullied teammate Martin by sending racist texts

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1 Sources: Incognito bullied teammate Martin by sending racist texts By Associated Press, adapted by Newsela staff on Word Count 938 Tackle Jonathan Martin (right) in his stance before the ball is snapped during a Miami Dolphins practice at the Dolphins training facility at NSU in Davie, Florida, on July 23, Richie Incognito is behind him on the left. Photo: Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/MCT DAVIE, Fla. In the stadium program sold at the Miami Dolphins game on Halloween, Richie Incognito was asked who's the easiest teammate to scare. His answer: Jonathan Martin. The troubled relationship between the two offensive linemen took a disturbing turn Monday with fresh revelations that Incognito sent threatening and racist text messages to his teammate, said two people who knew of the situation. The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition that they would not be identified. They asked for that condition because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Sunday's suspension of Incognito, a veteran with a reputation for dirty play.

2 Martin, a tackle, remained absent from practice Monday one week after he suddenly left the team because of emotional problems. Also missing was Incognito, a guard suspended indefinitely late Sunday by coach Joe Philbin for his treatment of Martin. Both Had Played Side By Side Agents for the two players didn't respond to requests for comment. Martin is with his family in Los Angeles for counseling. He stormed out of the team's training complex on Oct. 28 after being the victim of a prank ( during a team meal, media reports said. The 319-pound Incognito, a ninth-year pro, is white. The 312-pound Martin, who is in his second NFL season, is black. For much of the season, they've played side by side. The team and NFL continued their investigation into allegations by Martin's representatives that he was bullied, and Philbin said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for assistance. The NFL Players Association also planned to look into the matter. "Every decision I've made, everything we've done in this facility has been done with one thing in mind," Philbin said. "That's to help our players and our organization reach their full potential. Any type of conduct (or) behavior that detracts from that objective is not acceptable and is not tolerated." It's unclear whether coaches or management had any inkling of harassment between the players before Martin left the team, and Philbin declined to answer a question about the locker-room culture. Recent rumblings of dissension have also included complaints by young players that they're pressured to pay more than their share when team members socialize together. After beating Cincinnati in overtime Thursday, the Dolphins had three days off while the Martin story mushroomed. They returned to practice Monday and afterward found nearly 100 reporters and cameramen in their locker room. Hazing Of Young Players Common... Teammates praised both Incognito and Martin and expressed regret regarding their absences, but said it was time to get on with business. "The only thing affecting us is we can't even get dressed," said receiver Mike Wallace as he surveyed the media throng. Wallace said he found Incognito to be intense but a good teammate. Newcomer Bryant McKinnie agreed.

3 "When I got here, he was a guy who had everybody laughing and told jokes," said McKinnie, a tackle who joined the team two weeks ago. "I didn't really see the side being portrayed right now." Hazing of young players has a long history in sports, but Incognito's treatment of Martin raised questions about whether coaches or teammates should have intervened. "It's not a thin line. It's pretty obvious stuff that shouldn't be crossed," Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty said. "You would hope if stuff was getting out of hands, there were guys in the locker room who would step up and maybe nip it in the bud before it got out of control." Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said he was glad the Dolphins took action against Incognito.... But This Went Beyond Hazing "Especially when you try to bully a guy. That's so classless," Dockett said. "His whole makeup is to play dirty and hurt guys. Everybody knows that. I just don't understand how he got away with it for so long. I think the NFL really needs to buckle down on it now, because it's bigger than trying to hurt other guys. You're trying to hurt guys on your team mentally, which sometimes can actually be worse than hurting someone physically." Before being suspended, Incognito posted several tweets saying he wanted his name cleared. Incognito, who's in the final year of a $13 million, three-year contract, has long had a reputation of being among the NFL's dirtiest players. "There's certain people out there who are just punks, and he wants to be that kind of guy," former Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson said Monday. "But because he's a lineman, he gets away with a lot of stuff that people don't see. Incognito is way worse than anybody I ever played against." However, there have been fewer such complaints since Incognito joined the Dolphins in Last year he was voted by the league's players into the Pro Bowl for the first time. He was the co-winner of the Dolphins' Good Guy Award, given to the team's most cooperative player by the local media. He also won frequent praise from Dolphins coaches for his leadership, and this year he was voted by teammates to serve as a member of the Dolphins' player council.

4 Martin protected quarterback Andrew Luck's blind side at Stanford before joining Miami as a second-round draft pick in He has been a starter since the beginning of his rookie season, but has struggled while dividing his time between left and right tackle. For the first six games this year, Incognito and Martin were the two players protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blind side. Their troubled relationship may help explain his NFL-high 35 sacks.

5 Quiz 1 Select the paragraph from the section "Both Had Played Side By Side" that suggests that bullying in professional football extends beyond the conflict between Incognito and Martin. 2 According to the information in the section "... But This Went Beyond Hazing," has Incognito been concerned about the effect of the allegations on his reputation? Which line from the article supports your conclusion? (A) (B) (C) Yes; Before being suspended, Incognito posted several tweets saying he wanted his name cleared. No; Incognito, who's in the final year of a $13 million, three-year contract, has long had a reputation of being among the NFL's dirtiest players. Yes; However, there have been fewer such complaints since Incognito joined the Dolphins in (D) No; Their troubled relationship may help explain his NFL-high 35 sacks. 3 Read this paragraph from the introduction [paragraphs 1-4]. The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition that they would not be identified. They asked for that condition because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Sunday's suspension of Incognito, a veteran with a reputation for dirty play. Which of the following words does NOT contribute to a negative portrayal of Incognito? (A) (B) (C) (D) misconduct suspension reputation dirty

6 4 Read these paragraphs from the section "Hazing Of Young Players Common..." Hazing of young players has a long history in sports, but Incognito's treatment of Martin raised questions about whether coaches or teammates should have intervened. "It's not a thin line. It's pretty obvious stuff that shouldn't be crossed," Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty said. "You would hope if stuff was getting out of hands, there were guys in the locker room who would step up and maybe nip it in the bud before it got out of control." Which of the following phrases provides the most insight as to the meaning of the word "intervened"? (A) (B) (C) (D) raised questions pretty obvious stuff if stuff was getting out of hands nip it in the bud

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