DAVIE (AP) — Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he spoke with the NFL and the attorney who investigated the team’s bullying scandal to get a sense of what will be included in their forthcoming report on the case.
“I have an idea what will be in it,” Ross said. “I haven’t seen the report. I don’t know exactly what his conclusion is. When it comes out, we’ll do what has to be done. In my mind, I know what direction we’re going.”
Following an 8-8 season tainted by the scandal, Ross decided to keep coach Joe Philbin and part with general manager Jeff Ireland. Dennis Hickey was introduced as Ireland’s replacement at a news conference last week, where Ross talked briefly about the case that rocked the franchise at midseason.
New York attorney Ted Wells began a league investigation in November, and his report was scheduled to be released after the Super Bowl played on Sunday.
Tackle Jonathan Martin left the Dolphins in October and alleged he was harassed daily by teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended for the final eight games.
Incognito becomes a free agent this winter. When asked if he or Martin will play for the Dolphins again, Ross equivocated.
“I don’t believe so – well, I can’t say that,” Ross said, adding with a chuckle, “Therefore I retract that.”
Wells’ report is expected to address the roles of Philbin, his staff and Miami Dolphins management in the case. One issue is whether anyone on the coaching staff ordered Incognito to toughen up Martin. The case inspired a national debate about workplace bullying.
Martin, meanwhile, said in an interviewed aired last week that he wants to return to the NFL. He claimed in the interview that racial, aggressive and sexually charged comments all played a role in his departure from the Dolphins. Martin also said he was not the only victim of hazing in the team’s locker room. “There are other people that got it too,” Martin said. “I can’t say why I may have gotten more.”
Martin told his side of the story to former NFL coach Tony Dungy, now an analyst for NBC, which aired portions of the interview over two days. Dungy is part of a committee assigned by Ross to review the team’s code of conduct and said on NBC’s Today Show that he spoke with three general managers who believe Martin will have the chance to play again.
“They all said he’s a good player. He’ll get an opportunity,” Dungy said. “But they’re all afraid of the scrutiny that comes with it. He’s got to get to the right environment, not a place like the Miami locker room was.”
Among the allegations Martin made in his interview with Dungy:
• That teammates directed comments of racial and aggressive nature toward him, as well as sex-related comments about his mother and sister.
• That he talked to members of the team’s coaching staff about the situation but stopped short of meeting with Philbin. “Members of the organization knew I was struggling,” Martin said.
• That he tried to be friends with Incognito.
• That he contacted friends on other NFL teams and that they agreed the level of hazing he alleged to have taken place with the Dolphins exceeded what’s typical in a locker-room culture.
“I have no problem with the normal hazing that you see in the NFL, get a haircut, stuff like that, little pranks. But of a personal, attacking nature, I don’t think there’s any place for that,” Martin said.