DAVIE, Fla. -- The Dolphins released a statement Sunday afternoon saying they've been informed of "player misconduct" regarding right tackle Jonathan Martin, allegations that could lend credence to reports the second-year player was bullied in some fashion by teammates.
"We received notification today from Jonathan's representation about allegations of player misconduct," the statement said. "We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further.
"We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."
The Dolphins (4-4) return to practice Monday. The Martin episode is sure to be a topic of conversation, overshadowing the Nov. 11 game against Tampa Bay.
ESPN.com reported Martin contributed $15,000 toward a trip taken by a group of Dolphins players to Las Vegas even though he didn't go. The report said Martin gave the money to left guard Richie Incognito because he feared repercussions if he didn't contribute.
Martin's breaking point was a prank the offensive linemen played on him, which featured the entire unit leaving the lunch table upon his arrival on Monday.
Martin got frustrated and smashed his tray on the floor and left the facility.
However, one source said the same prank was pulled on six-year veteran Nate Garner the previous week, and Martin participated in that prank.
The Dolphins' defense annually arranges a dinner that requires rookies to pay.
The dinner took place this weekend, there are unconfirmed reports the meal's tab came up to $30,000.
"Everything tastes better when rookies pay for it," veteran defensive end Jared Odrick tweeted as the captain took a picture of the meal.
Rookie cornerback Will Davis tweeted that the bill was split, likely referring to the team's five drafted defenders paying the tab.
Three sources with knowledge of the dinner said they weren't aware of any one player being hit with a disproportionately large charge.
"That's just part of what goes on," one source said of rookies paying for the meal.
Another source said he wasn't aware of "anything extraordinary" involving rookie hazing on the Dolphins.
Every NFL team has its own rite of passage rituals. During his rookie season in 2011, Odrick bought every member of the Dolphins' defensive line unit I-Pads as a gesture of his appreciation for all they'd taught him. The same kind of gesture was expected from Dion Jordan, the team's 2013 first-round pick.
Whether that's hazing, or an act viewed as bullying will be determined by the NFL.
During training camp Dolphins rookies have had their heads shaved and dyed different colors the past two years. Other rookie rituals (carrying pads, running errands, stocking meeting rooms with candy and snacks) have gone back decades. Many of these rituals have annually been featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.
However, there is some concern that such acts violate the NFL's personal conduct policy.
"It's a real sensitive situation now," one player said.
The Dolphins request for an "objective and thorough review" from the NFL goes against a statement they released Sunday morning that said, in part, the "notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally."
The statement also said, "The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate."
Guard Richie Incognito was on Twitter challenging various publications on Sunday, and one reporter specifically, ESPN's Adam Schefter, to "clear" his name. Incognito was named by ESPN as the focus of an NFLPA investigation regarding Martin being bullied.
On Friday, the day after the Dolphins' 22-20 overtime win over Cincinnati, coach Joe Philbin was asked if that victory gave him reason for relief.
"Not necessarily," he said. "Again, it's one day at a time. It's one game at a time. You keep things in perspective. You remember why you are in coaching, why you are doing these things. You go to work every single day.
"The idea of getting this team better and playing up to their potential, that's what your job is as a coach. Sometimes stuff happens. Stuff happens in a family. Some of it is not always great, and you have to deal with it. That's what we do."
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