Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito told NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington on Sunday night that he has been hit with an indefinite suspension by the team while an NFL investigation into bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin is conducted. The team later confirmed that report, citing conduct detrimental to the team.
“We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time,” the Dolphins said in its statement upon suspending Incognito. “As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter.”
It was reported early Sunday morning that the Dolphins had asked the NFL to investigate Martin’s bullying claims after receiving official notification about allegations of player misconduct. Martin has been placed on the non-football injury list after going AWOL on Monday, leaving the team after an incident in the lunch room.
Incognito, 30, a nine-year NFL veteran who has always been known as a “dirty” player, was allegedly the ringleader in the ongoing bullying and menacing of Jonathan Martin. Incognito stated on Twitter that he had no involvement in the incident before going as far as to accuse major media outlets of slandering his name. CBS Sports reported that the bullying led by Incognito has been occurring since Martin was drafted in 2012.
“It's hard to picture a 6-foot-5 350-lb football player as being the victim of bullying, but that's exactly what took place here,” a source told CBS Sports of Martin’s bullying. “He is genuinely scared of what Incognito might do to him, or has threatened to do to him.”
Reports surfacing after the Dolphins’ 22-20 victory on Thursday Night Football over the Cincinnati Bengals allege that Incognito coerced Martin into paying $15,000 to help fund a Las Vegas trip for some Dolphins players. SI indicated that Martin was “fearing the consequences if he did not hand over the money.”
Dan is an NFL correspondent for Examiner.com. Follow Dan on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for breaking NFL news.