Incognito says Martin sent him threatening text
In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 image made from video made by WSVN-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito is interviewed near his home. The troubled, troubling relationship between two Miami Dolphin linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito took an ominous turn Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 with fresh revelations: Incognito sent text messages to his teammate that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said.(AP Photo/WSVN-TV)
FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2012 file photo, Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin (71) watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Miami. In the stadium program sold at the Dolphins' game on Halloween, Richie Incognito was asked who's the easiest teammate to scare. His answer: Jonathan Martin. The troubled, troubling relationship between the two offensive linemen took an ominous turn Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, with fresh revelations: Incognito sent text messages to his teammate that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE - In this May 29, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito watches during an NFL football practice at the Dolphins training facility in Davie, Fla. Suspended Dolphins guard Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito's suspension. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2011, file photo, Miami Dolphins' Richie Incognito (68) is penalized as he elbows a Buffalo Bills player during the second half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito's suspension. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)
MIAMI – Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito says teammate Jonathan Martin sent him a threatening text message as an apparent joke only a week before their relationship became the subject of a harassment case that has prompted an NFL investigation.
In an interview with Fox Sports televised yesterday, Incognito said he never took the threat seriously. Incognito said he regrets the racist and profane language he used with Martin, but said it stemmed from a culture of locker-room “brotherhood,” not bullying.
“A week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me on my phone – ‘I will murder your whole … family,’” Incognito said, quoting Martin as using a profanity. “Now did I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit. … I knew it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That just puts in context how we communicate with one another.”
Incognito said Martin sent him a friendly text four days after leaving the team to undergo counseling for emotional issues. The message came on the heels of the Dolphins’ overtime victory against Cincinnati.
“Wassup man? The world’s gone crazy lol. I’m good tho congrats on the win,” Martin said in a text verified by Fox Sports. “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.”
Neither Martin’s agent nor attorney responded to requests for comment from the Associated Press.
Martin left the team two weeks ago, and his attorney alleges the second-year pro was harassed daily by teammates, including Incognito. Martin hasn’t spoken publicly but will discuss the case late next week with a special investigator hired by the league.
“This isn’t an issue about bullying,” Incognito told Fox. “This is an issue of my and Jon’s relationship. You can ask anyone in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you me.
“All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood.”
Incognito’s phone showed 1,142 text messages between the two players over the past year, Fox reported.
The network said Incognito declined to answer only one question: Did coaches order him to toughen up Martin? The NFL will investigate the role of Coach Joe Philbin, his staff and Miami management in the case.
The Dolphins (4-4) play for the first time since Incognito was suspended when they face Tampa Bay (0-8) tonight.
Incognito is white and Martin is biracial. Teammates both black and white have said Incognito is not a racist, and they’ve been more supportive of the veteran guard than they have of Martin.
Incognito acknowledged leaving a voicemail for Martin in April in which he used a racist term, threatened to kill his teammate and threatened to slap Martin’s mother.
“When I see those words come up across the screen, I’m embarrassed,” said Incognito, adding that Martin used the same racist term “a lot.”
“I’m embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and our teammates communicate. It’s vulgar. It’s not right. … I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised when people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.”
Incognito said he never sensed that football or the locker-room culture were getting to Martin.
“As his best friend on the team, that’s what has me miffed – how I missed this,” Incognito said. “I never saw it coming.”
Long labeled one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, Incognito acknowledged his reputation for out-of-bounds behavior – and the impact the much-quoted, threatening voicemail has had on his image.
“It sounds terrible. It sounds like I’m a racist pig. It sounds like I’m a meathead. It sounds a lot of things that it’s not. … If you go just by all the knucklehead stuff I’ve done in the past, you’re sitting in your home and thinking, ‘This guy is a loose cannon. This guy is a terrible person. This guy is a racist.’ That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Incognito said if he met with Martin and his family, he would apologize for anything they took as malicious.