DAVIE, Fla. — Jonathan Martin claims the Miami Dolphins should not have been blindsided by his belief the franchise created a hostile working environment.
During his 30-minute interview with NBC, which aired on Wednesday, Martin revealed that he made his coaches aware of the issues he was having with some teammates before the starting offensive tackle left the Dolphins at midseason.
“I tried building friendships,” Martin said in the sit-down interview with former NFL coach Tony Dungy. “I asked myself what I was doing wrong to be treated like this?
“I tried to do whatever I could to be a member of our offensive line,” said Martin, a 2012 second-round pick who started 23 games at offensive tackle for the Dolphins.
When Dungy asked if Martin ever spoke to anyone about his claims fellow teammate Richie Incognito, and others, were bullying him, creating a hostile environment, he said he confided to his offensive line coaches, who are Jim Turner and then Chris Mosley, who resigned a month before Martin left the team.
“Members of the organization knew I was struggling. I had some conversations with my coaches immediately above me,” Martin said. “I didn’t get into specifics. You’re not supposed to quote, unquote snitch on your teammates. I didn’t see it was my place to go above the heads of leaders on the offensive line and talk to my coaches about my teammates.”
When Dungy asked Martin if Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin or his teammates were ever made aware of his issues, he admitted they were not.
“It’s the level of comfort,” Martin replied. “Like I said, I worked hard, for a year and a half, to be friends with these teammates, because I wanted to play football.”
When asked if the lengthy text history he had with Incognito wasn’t a sign of friendship, Martin admitted “it is.”
He then explained he was trying to be accepted by the offensive line unit, which was led by Incognito and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, two linemen voted by their peers to the Dolphins’ six player leadership council in 2013.
In his follow up interview with the “Today” show, Dungy said what didn’t come across in short version of the Martin interview was how personal the attacks on Martin were. Dungy said he listened to some of the voicemails and saw a few text messages, and they were racially insensitive, and did feature personal attacks on Martin’s sister and mother.
Incognito, in an interview with Fox Sports back in early November, claimed the racially charged, and threatening text messages and voicemails sent to Martin were done in a playful nature, and pointed out many of them were months old.
“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 how our teammates, how we communicate, it’s vulgar,” said Incognito, who suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season. “It’s, it’s not right.”
Back in November Dolphins owner Steve Ross formed a task force to produce a new code of conduct for his franchise, and Dungy is one of the five members on it.
“We’ve got to be sensitive to what’s going on in this whole environment,” Dungy said. “I don’t know how it started, but it definitely escalated to something more than what you’d want in your locker room.”
When asked about Martin’s shot of continuing his NFL career, Dungy said he spoke to three NFL general managers who all said Martin was “a good player, and will get another opportunity.” But he acknowledged they are all concerned about the scrutiny that would come with adding Martin to their team.
“He’s got to get to the right environment,” Dungy said. “Not a place like the Miami locker room.”
On Wednesday Ross said he expects Ted Wells’ report on the bullying saga to come out after the Super Bowl, and admitted he doesn’t expect Martin or Incognito to play for the Dolphins again. Incognito is a free agent this offseason. The Dolphins own Martin’s rights for the next two seasons, but will likely trade or release him this offseason.