FanDuel - WFBC

January 31, 2014

Lawyer Reveals Martin's Texts to Incognito: The lawyer for Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito has released texts from teammate Jonathan Martin that are as rough as anything Incognito reportedly said to him. The texts show the players swapping insults and threats in what appears to be a joking manner, given that they exchange normal texts afterwards as if nothing had happened. One time Martin responds to Incognito's "f--- you!" by sending a photo that reads, "I will murder your whole f------ family."

posted by rcade to football at 12:30 PM - 10 comments

This is sounding more like a domestic violence case all the time.

posted by Etrigan at 01:17 PM on January 31

Not that I ever was firmly in the Martin camp on this one, but context is not his friend in this matter.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:39 PM on January 31

I think the black box that is mental health and the Puritanical "Let's Find Someone to Hang" sensationalism of the media just don't go well together. Which is to say something like, before we reach that point of, "Who are we to judge this situation?" the media will be like "OMG! Check out this crazy story of unresolved conflict!"

It's a little rough that Incognito's lawyer released these texts to the public. I don't know how well it will play, because it is self-serving in the sense that it shows Martin in a bad light and because I think Martin's still entitled to his feelings.

Having said that, it is scary how a private matter blows up and total strangers become really worked up and turn themselves into the arbiters of justice, as if to imply that no other mechanism is in place. Is these where we self-righteously psychoanalyze Martin? You know, really get into his head? It makes me pause to think how hard I'm trolling just by consistently contributing to message boards and sharing my thoughts online in what turns to be a horrendously conflict-focused format.

posted by phaedon at 01:40 PM on January 31

I don't have any concerns over caring about this.

Martin is entitled to his feelings, but he shouldn't get a pass for manipulating the situation the way he appears to have done. A reasonable person would look at his texts and Incognito's texts and concluded that either both sides of the conversations should be revealed or none.

To me, the most damning text is the one sent after Martin left the team. He wasn't facing peer pressure or bullying when he told Incognito, "I don't blame you guys at all its just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little Btw never check yourself into a mental hospital."

I heard from someone with a really good inside source about this situation very early on in the scandal, and it was sympathetic to Incognito and skeptical of Martin. These texts further that view.

posted by rcade at 02:31 PM on January 31

It's a little rough that Incognito's lawyer released these texts to the public. I don't know how well it will play, because it is self-serving in the sense that it shows Martin in a bad light and because I think Martin's still entitled to his feelings.

Well - Incognito's been painted a bully, a label that might just end his career. Martin's texts, particularly the one after he left the team, are a completely different narrative than the one Martin himself painted of his relationship with Incognito.

So I guess I sympathize with what Martin's going through, but Incognito has a reputation and a career to try to save and these texts make it seem like perhaps it's not as simple as one guy bullying another past their breaking point.

posted by dfleming at 02:49 PM on January 31

Maybe this is me just not knowing the entire story, I just don't understand what is so "damning" about what Martin said or did. He left the team. He didn't engage the media. He didn't defend Incognito; he didn't suspend him. Maybe he has mental problems or is under direction to take care of himself. He owes you nothing. If anything, you should be condemning the public hysteria masquerading as insight; people jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story.

Having said that I'm sure a helping hand from Martin would have gone a long way. But I'm sure these texts were previously made available to Dolphins management, and they probably didn't give a shit.

posted by phaedon at 02:54 PM on January 31

It seems pretty obvious to me that stories like this one from November came from a very one-sided release of information related to how Martin and Incognito interacted with each other.

The information looks like it was calculated to make Incognito look as bad as possible, so the most logical culprit is Martin himself. Here's a voicemail transcript of an Incognito call from that link:

"Hey, wassup, you half (expletive) piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. I'll (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. I'm gonna slap your (expletive) mouth, I'm gonna slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

That makes Incognito look like a monster. But the public was manipulated, because it was not revealed that Martin himself texted Incognito, "I will murder your whole f------ family."

Martin or his representatives could have corrected that. It might have calmed the situation down, and caused people to view the situation as two athletes taking the piss out of each other instead of bullying.

posted by rcade at 04:20 PM on January 31

Martin or his representatives could have corrected that. It might have calmed the situation down, and caused people to view the situation as two athletes taking the piss out of each other instead of bullying.

There may be a reason for not correcting the situation. Martin walked away from the Dolphins, his career and huge paychecks. Again, unless I'm missing something, Martin isn't making a case for anything. He hasn't filed a lawsuit. He never asked for anything from anyone.

So given how cloudy the details have been, it's entirely possible Martin may have been affected by Incognito in a way that isn't immediately apparent in the text messages (perhaps a physical altercation), and/or he may suffer from a pre-existing condition. He may also draw the line at racial epithets. Having walked away from the game, he does not have an obligation to guide the media or the public in the right direction.

It's also hard to imagine Incognito not getting into trouble if Martin clarified himself. Incognito is a senior member in the locker room, a leader. We see in situations like the Richard Sherman debacle that NFL players are free to say and think whatever they please, as long as they don't do it in front of the camera.

And despite teammate sympathies, Incognito has a reputation for being a dirty and disrespectful player both on and off the field, going back as far as 2002. Even if that weren't the case, once this type of material hits the public airwaves, the NFL has to do something about it.

Do I think this latest revelation has some bearing on Incognito's career? It's hard to say, I could see myself agreeing with you that it should, but I don't think it's enough. One thing's for sure, I don't think it makes his behavior any more permissible. I'm sure "football culture" has a lot to do with Incognito's attitude, and this is how change happens - you crucify one or two people for something a lot of people are doing, and maybe down the road you proactively monitor for this type of abuse. The only thing that matters is the brand.

posted by phaedon at 06:33 PM on January 31

One thing's for sure, I don't think it makes his behavior any more permissible.

To me, it depends on whether his behavior was accepted by both parties at the time it was going on. If Martin was dishing it out as good as he was taking it, that's not bullying. It's bonding.

A lot of the stuff Incognito was doing seems like a genuine attempt to bring Martin out of his shell and turn him into a tougher person. I'll bet there's plenty of people doing that in locker rooms in ways that are a notch or two below what Incognito did, and it would seem acceptable to most fans (and the media).

posted by rcade at 08:46 PM on January 31

One thing's for sure, I don't think it makes his behavior any more permissible.

Most people see a difference between a fight and an assault. There's differing agency involved.

Let's go back to the timeline of this whole affair - Martin leaves the team. His camp accuses Incognito of harassing him. They release a voicemail that is pretty damning to that end. Incognito is suspended.

Incognito's teammates report things like Martin laughing at that voicemail and that the two were actually friends.

This is a quote from Martin about the treatment he got:

"But of a personal, attacking nature, I don't think there's any place for that. I don't think there's a place to disrespect people in a professional sport."

They also used phrases like "malicious personal attacks."

So evidence that suggests that Martin was sending texts about killing Incognito's family suggests that he did exactly the same thing. Whatever happened mentally to him - he was a willing participant up to a point. He said shit that I wouldn't say to anyone else.

The point is that Incognito was painted by Martin as maliciously attacking him - when, in fact, this seems to corroborate his and other Dolphins' accounts that this is what they did to one another. So that, to me, changes this from an assault to a fight and the narrative around it has to change with it.

Also Martin's looking to return to the NFL (and has been doing interviews), so yes, I do think he owes the media an explanation.

posted by dfleming at 07:11 AM on February 01

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