Lawyer: Martin’s treatment went beyond hazing

Updated: November 8, 2013, 12:32 AM ET


ESPN.com news services


Jonathan Martin has endured constant harassment, daily verbal attacks and even a “malicious physical attack” from teammates during his time with the Miami Dolphins, according to a statement released Thursday on Martin’s behalf by lawyer David Cornwell.

“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue,” Cornwell said in the statement. “Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh’s ‘smash mouth’ brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck‘s blind side.

“The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.

“Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.”

The statement also included an alleged vulgar quote from an anonymous teammate directed at Martin’s sister.

Martin has previously said he suffered harassment and was bullied by Richie Incognito, and handed over evidence to the Dolphins, the NFL and NFL Players Association. ESPN obtained the transcript of the voice mail allegedly left by Incognito that included racial slurs and threats of violence.

Dolphins players had mixed reactions Thursday to a potential return by Martin, just 24 hours after many players expressed support for Incognito, who was suspended indefinitely Sunday for conduct detrimental to the team.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith released a statement Thursday saying he’s been in contact with Dolphins players.

“I continue to be in touch with players in Miami, their representatives and player leadership, and I look forward to information that defines the full scope of the NFL’s investigation,” he said. “Every NFL player should expect safe and professional working conditions. The NFLPA has taken steps to ensure that every one of our affected members is represented. It is our duty as a union to learn the full facts, protect the interests of players involved and hold management accountable to the highest standards of fairness and transparency.”

Information from ESPN.com Dolphins reporter James Walker was used in this report.

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