Football / Sports

Incognito, Pouncey and Jerry implicated in Wells report on Dolphins' bullying

MIAMI -- Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry engaged "in a pattern of harassment" directed at not only teammate Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer, independent counsel Ted Wells has determined.

Furthermore, Wells rejects any suggestion that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up his true reason for leaving the team, he announced Friday.

The findings were released in Wells' much-anticipated report on the team's workplace conduct scandal. The investigation took three months, in which he reviewed thousands of voluntarily produced documents (including text messages, emails and team policies) and completed more than 100 interviews.

Wells spoke with all Dolphins players and coaches, key front-office personnel, and the team's owner and chairman he said Friday.

After the report was released, the Dolphins made the following statement: "We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings. When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.

"Our office has received the report of independent counsel Ted Wells, which sets forth the findings of his investigation into the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins. Consistent with our commitment at the outset of this matter, the full report has been transmitted to our clubs and has been made public. We appreciate the work of Ted Wells and his colleagues and the cooperation of the Miami Dolphins organization in the investigation. After we have had an opportunity to review the report, we will have further comment as appropriate."

The report finds that an assistant trainer "repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments."

Text messages sent from Martin to his parents and others months before he left the Dolphins corroborate the left tackle's account that the harassment at the hands of his teammates caused him "significant emotional distress."

The report finds, however, that Martin's teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury.

Wells does not plan to comment further on the investigation.

Mark Schamel, Incognito's attorney, released a statement Friday afternoon that said, "Mr. Wells' NFL report is replete with errors. The facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin's mental health, drug use or on-field performance issues were related to the treatment by his teammates.

"It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising. The truth, as reported by the Dolphins players and as shown by the evidence, is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins offensive line. We are analyzing the entire report and will release a thorough analysis as soon as it is ready."

(c)2014 The Miami Herald

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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