James Walker | ESPN.com
DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins are trying to operate this week as though it’s business as usual. However, this is not a normal week, with NFL investigators at the team facility asking questions about the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.
Several players spoke about the situation after practice Tuesday. NFL lead investigator Ted Wells began interviewing people within the organization Monday, and that will continue throughout the week.
The league is trying to get to the bottom of harassment allegations made by Martin toward Incognito and other teammates.
“I think it’s probably 10 minutes, 15 minutes for each person,” wide receiver Mike Wallace said. “So for a big situation like this, I don’t think it’s too much. I don’t think it’s one guy getting interviewed for two hours. I don’t think it’s that bad.
“Ten minutes won’t hurt anybody. Just get it over with, put it behind us, and hopefully we won’t have to come back to it again.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Wallace said he wasn’t interviewed. But there is certainly a chance. The investigators are in South Florida to get as many perspectives from the Dolphins as possible.
“I only knew the guy for, like, five months before anything happened. Everything seemed fine to me,” Wallace said. “So I don’t really have anything to say. If they ask me, I will definitely tell them that. But I don’t have too much information, so I’m not a good interview.”
Receiver Brian Hartline has been one of several Dolphins players vocal about the Incognito-Martin situation over the past two weeks. That may have put Hartline on Wells’ list of interviewees.
“I would call it a first, that’s for sure,” Hartline said of the situation. “But I get interviewed all the time from you guys. So I’m not going to treat it any different.”
The NFL is trying to work around the Dolphins’ schedule this week in order for players not to miss practice time or meetings. Still, it’s a distraction that continues to loom over the team.
“I haven’t had to carve out any time yet,” left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. “I’m sure I will. But I’m sure they won’t need me for a long period of time because I was only here six days prior [to Martin leaving].”
One key member of the Dolphins who will be interviewed this week is offensive line coach Jim Turner. ESPN reported that Turner is a “person of interest” to the NFL.
Turner, who has a military background, is known to be a yeller and screamer with players. The NFL will be investigating whether Turner crossed the line with Martin.
Several Dolphins players came to Turner’s defense Tuesday.
“He hasn’t changed his demeanor, and we haven’t changed our demeanor toward him,” Hartline said. “Let’s put it this way: If I had a tentative O-line coach, I would not want him coaching my O-line. Anyone in the locker room knows that, what O-line coaches are made of. You would not want a tentative, scared, shy O-line coach.”
Added McKinnie, “We have his back as offensive linemen. … A lot of pressure is on him through this situation.”
The league’s inquiries will continue Wednesday. Miami (5-5) will host the Carolina Panthers (7-3) on Sunday.
Also, a Washington lawyer retained by the NFLPA is launching a separate investigation into issues of workplace safety with the Dolphins, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA Today Sports on Tuesday.
According to the report, Richard Smith — the NFLPA’s lead outside counsel during the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation — intends to interview witnesses and examine team management’s role in alleged abuse that led to Martin’s departure from the Dolphins.
- A Temple graduate and Hyattsville, Md., native who lives in Miami
- Joined ESPN in 2008