On Wednesday, a number of Miami Dolphins players spoke out in defense of G Richie Incognito in an attempt to clear his name. The Dolphins instructed the team to not speak out regarding the ongoing situation involving Incognito and the absence of OT Jonathan Martin, but the players felt it was a necessary move.
“If you asked Jonathan Martin who his best friend in on this team two weeks ago, he’d say Richie Incognito. First guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan. I’m not in those guy’s shoes. I can’t explain what’s going on.”
“All I know about Richie is that he’s a great teammate to me. I saw him be a great teammate all the time. Does he like to give guys a hard time? Yes. Does he like to pester guys and have fun? Yes. He brought a lot of laughter to this locker room. He brought a lot of cohesiveness to this locker room. He was the best teammate I could ask for.”
Here are some more comments from Dolphin players:
- Dolphins WR Brian Hartline said that the voice mail sent by Incognito was a “joke in the locker room” and Martin was one laughing about it. (Andrew Abramson)
- Hartline is reportedly “outraged” because Martin was “passing the voicemail around earlier in the year and laughing about it.” (Bart Hubbuch)
- John Jerry said that the prank that involving Martin that led to him leaving the team was done to everyone on offensive line and they always had a good laugh about it. (Andrew Abramson)
- “I don’t know why he’s doing this,” said RT Tyson Clabo. “…This is ridiculous.” (Adam Beasley)
- DT Randy Starks said that Incognito took Martin “under his wing” and “was like a big brother to him.” (Andrew Abramson)
Dolphins HC Joe Philbin addressed the situation on Wednesday as well:
“As you’re aware, the NFL is conducting a review,” Philbin said. “We’ve been informed that Commissioner Goodell has named special counsel Ted Wells to lead the review. If the review reveals anything that needs to be corrected, we will take all necessary measures to fix it and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
“The type of culture that I’ve championed since the day that I walked through these doors has been one of honesty, respect and accountability to one another,” Philbin said. “I’ve considered those to be hallmarks of this program, and I believe our locker room reflects those beliefs.
“I believe in the manner of our locker room, and I believe in our coaching staff. And that’s exactly what I communicated to them today. I have full faith and confidence that we will stick together as a team, (and) that we will focus at the task at hand, which is preparing for a Monday night game against Tampa Bay.”