MIAMI – The NFL’s report in the Miami Dolphins harassment case is expected to be released soon, shedding further light on the much-scrutinized, troubled relationship between offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.
The report will likely address whether the Dolphins’ organization was at fault for the locker-room culture that led Martin to leave the team in October. He later said he was harassed daily by teammates, including Incognito, and alleged that their racial, aggressive and sexually charged comments played a role in his departure.
Incognito’s Dolphins suspension was lifted Tuesday, but Miami officials say that was an administrative move agreed to by all parties some time ago and had nothing to do with any new developments in the league investigation.
Last week, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he has an idea of what will be in the league’s report and indicated he doesn’t expect any new revelations. He said he’s proud of the way the people running the franchise responded to the scandal.
Martin has said he tried to be friends with Incognito. The two players traded more than a thousand text messages in a year’s span, and the teasing and vulgar banter went both ways, with references to sex, drugs, violence and bawdy behavior, often in a jocular tone.
The back-and-forth continued last week. In his first interview since the scandal broke, Martin told NBC persistent vulgar language around the team made him feel trapped. Incognito’s attorney Mark Schamel responded with a statement saying Martin was hiding behind false allegations rather than dealing with his poor on-field performance and myriad other issues.
The NFL report will come from New York attorney Ted Wells three months after he was retained by the NFL to investigate the case, which inspired a national debate about hazing and workplace bullying.
Wells will determine the role of coach Joe Philbin, his staff and Miami management in the case. One issue is whether anyone on the coaching staff ordered Incognito to toughen up Martin, who became a starter as a rookie in 2012 but played poorly at times.
Martin has said people in the organization knew he was unhappy about comments teammates made to him, but he didn’t talk to Philbin about it.
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin abruptly left the team Oct. 28. He was briefly hospitalized and then joined his family in California and underwent counseling for emotional issues.
Incognito was suspended Nov. 3 and sat out the final eight games.
Both players have said they want to play in 2014, but it likely won’t be with the Dolphins.
Incognito becomes a free agent this winter and will probably sign with another team, and the Dolphins are expected to trade or release Martin, who has two years remaining on his contract.