James Walker | ESPN.com
“Ted Wells and the National Football League have asked that we delay our meeting with Jonathan Martin until they have the opportunity to meet with him,” Dolphins chief executive officer Tom Garfinkel said in a statement. “Out of deference to the process, we will cooperate with their request. We look forward to meeting with Jonathan as soon as possible.”
A league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Wells, appointed by the league to conduct an independent investigation, is scheduled to meet with Martin on Friday in New York.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Monday that he planned to meet with Martin on Wednesday, and he promised to get to the bottom of claims Martin was bullied and harassed by teammate Richie Incognito.
Ross confirmed Monday he has been in communication with Martin via text messages. He said he will not deal with speculation and will get as much information as possible from the source.
Ross promised to make changes throughout the organization following the league’s investigation. He described the situation as a “nightmare” and was not happy with the negative media attention his team has gotten due to actions in the locker room.
Incognito admitted he made graphic racial slurs and threats toward Martin via voicemails and text messages. However, in an interview with Fox Sports, Incognito claimed Martin did the same and that it was a normal aspect of their friendship. Incognito also said racial slurs and crass language were part of the culture in the Dolphins’ locker room, which further put a black eye on the team.
“I was appalled. I think anybody would be appalled,” Ross said. “When you first read that text that was reported, to me I didn’t realize people would talk, text or speak that way.”
Ross is setting up a task force to improve the atmosphere within the locker room. He announced a group of former coaches and players that included Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin.
The group, which Ross wants to eventually expand to seven or nine people, will offer advice to both the owner and coach Joe Philbin on how to create a better in-house culture.
“These are probably people who have as much respect as anybody who have ever played or coached the game,” Ross said.
Ross praised Philbin but said no one is above repercussions based on the NFL investigation.
Martin left the team Oct. 28 following a lunchroom incident and hasn’t returned. He hired lawyer David Cornwell, who claimed Martin was harassed by multiple players, including Incognito. ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported Martin does not want to return to the Dolphins.
Ross said he hadn’t heard of any bullying or harassment of Martin before he left the team. He also said he plans to meet with Incognito at some point, although nothing has been set.
- A Temple graduate and Hyattsville, Md., native who lives in Miami
- Joined ESPN in 2008