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    "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    By Lydon Murtha
    I donít have a dog in this fight.

    I want that to be very clear. I played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins from 2009 until the 2012 preseason, when I was released after tearing ligaments in my foot and injuring my back, both requiring surgery. I have since retired, and Iím happily working in the auto industry and living outside of Miami. I went to college at Nebraska with Richie Incognito, and I consider myself friends with him and Jonathan Martin, but I donít speak with them regularly and Iím not taking sides. Iím only interested in the truth, which is what Iím going to share, from my own experiences and from conversations with friends still on the team.

    Before I correct some of the misconceptions and outright lies being reported in the course of this story, letís first establish who Martin and Incognito are as human beings and their relationship with one another.

    From the beginning, when he was drafted in April 2012, Martin did not seem to want to be one of the group. He came off as standoffish and shy to the rest of the offensive linemen. He couldnít look anyone in the eye, which was puzzling for a football player at this level on a team full of grown-ass men. We all asked the same question: Why wonít he be open with us? Whatís with the wall being put up? I never really figured it out. He did something Iíd never seen before by balking at the idea of paying for a rookie dinner, which is a meal for a position group paid for by rookies. (For example, I paid $9,600 for one my rookie year.) I donít know if Martin ever ended up paying for one, as I was cut before seeing the outcome.

    Martin was expected to play left tackle beside Incognito at guard from the start, so Incognito took him under his wing. They were close friends by all apperances. Martin had a tendency to tank when things would get difficult in practice, and Incognito would lift him up. Heíd say, thereís always tomorrow. Richie has been more kind to Martin than any other player.

    In other situations, when Martin wasnít showing effort, Richie would give him a lot of crap. He was a leader on the team, and he would get in your face if you were unprepared or playing poorly. The crap he would give Martin was no more than he gave anyone else, including me. Other players said the same things Incognito said to Martin, so youíd need to suspend the whole team if you suspend Incognito.

    Which brings me to my first point: I donít believe Richie Incognito bullied Jonathan Martin. I never saw Martin singled out, excluded from anything, or treated any differently than the rest of us. Weíd have dinners and the occasional night out, and everyone was invited. He was never told he canít be a part of this. It was the exact opposite. But when he came out, he was very standoffish. Thatís why the coaches told the leaders,bring him out of his shell. Figure him out a little bit.

    Thatís where Incognito ran into a problem. Personally, I know when a guy canít handle razzing. You can tell that some guys just arenít built for it. Incognito doesnít have that filter. He was the jokester on the team, and he joked with everybody from players to coaches. That voicemail he sent came from a place of humor, but where he really screwed up was using the N-word. That, I cannot condone, and itís probably the biggest reason heís not with the team right now. Odd thing is, Iíve heard Incognito call Martin the same thing to his face in meetings and all Martin did was laugh. Many more worse things were said about others in the room from all different parties. Itís an Animal House. Now Incognitoís being slandered as a racist and a bigot, and unfortunately thatís never going to be wiped clean because of all the wrong heís done people in his past. But if you really know who Richie is, heís a really good, kind man and far from a racist.

    In my experience, heís not the kind of person who would extort someone for $15,000. The notion that Martin was forced to pay for a trip he didnít attend has been misrepresented.

    Playing football is a manís job, and if thereís any weak link, it gets weeded out. Itís the leadersí job on the team to take care of it.
    Every year, as tradition, the offensive line goes on a big Vegas trip. Everything is paid for in advance, from hotels to a private jet to show tickets. Martin originally verbally committed to the trip, then later backed out after everything was booked. Now, if you canít go because of an emergency then itís okay, but to say youíre going and then decide you donít want to spend the money later? Everything was paid for, and then when it was time to pay up he didnít want to go anymore. You donít do that to your brothers. The veterans who paid for it, including Incognito and others, asked for Martinís share, and he gave it to them. End of story.

    The silliest part of this story, to me, is the incident at the cafeteria, in which Martin was supposed to have been hazed when everyone got up from their seats as he sat down. Whoever leaked that story failed to share that getting up from a packed lunch table when one lineman sits down is a running gag that has been around for years. It happened to me more than once, and it happened to Martin because guys on the team say he was overcoming an illness. Just like when a guy is hurt, the joke is, I donít want to sit with you, youíve got the bug. Perhaps for Martin it was the straw that broke the camelís back, but when Incognito reached him after he stormed out, Martin told him the departure had nothing to do with Incognito. Martin said it was something else. Then the media onslaught began.

    Incognito was made a scapegoat for the hell coming down on the Dolphins organization, which in turn said it knew nothing about any so-called hazing. Thatís the most outlandish lie of this whole thing. The coaches know everything. The coaches know whoís getting picked on and in many cases call for that player to be singled out. Any type of denial on that side is ridiculous. I have friends on more than a dozen teams, and itís the same everywhere. What people want to call bullying is something that is never going away from football. This is a game of high testosterone, with men hammering their bodies on a daily basis. You are taught to be an aggressive person, and you typically do not make it to the NFL if you are a passive person. There are a few, but itís very hard. Playing football is a manís job, and if thereís any weak link, it gets weeded out. Itís the leadersí job on the team to take care of it.

    Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) said Wednesday that he was surprised by the bullying allegations, a sentiment shared by ex-Dolphin Lydon Murtha, seen here in a 2012 preseason game. (Charles Trainor Jr./Getty Images)

    The most unfortunate thing about this situation is the consequence it will have on the careers of both men. Richieís marked himself now as a racist and a bigot, and unfortunately that could be the end of it. Martin is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but no more likely than Incognito to return to the NFL if he wants. In going to the media with his problem, Martin broke the code, and it shows that heís not there for his teammates and heís not standing up for himself. There might be a team that gives him a chance because heís a good person, but the players will reject him. Theyíll think, If I say one thing heís going to the press. Heíll never earn the respect of teammates and personnel in the NFL because he didnít take care of business the right way.

    What fans should understand is that every day in the NFL there are battles between players worse than whatís being portrayed. This racial slur would be a blip on the radar if everything that happens in the locker room went public. But all over the league, problems are hashed out in house. Either you talk about it or you get physical. But at the end of the day, you handle it indoors.
    Last edited by MauiRam; -11-09-2013 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Title correction


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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Lydon Murtha is white. So, iirc, are at least some of the most vocal Fins who have come out in support of Incognito; Tannehill, Clabo.

    I've been reading a lot of this stuff & getting more angry by the day as words like "bullying' and "teasing' get thrown around with more than a whiff of condescension. This was harassment, with a good dose of racial discrimination, from my non-lawyerly position.I even think Martin has got less support from African-American teammates because of his privileged background.

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    citr92 is offline Registered User
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    this situation is stupid and strange

    i don't understand how a voice message (which i would like to actually hear) would simply be a joke...cause if it was, it was awkward and not funny...strange sense of humor?

    idk, but it seems like the amount of people going against martin is not right...

    like they said, it's a bunch of grown-ass men...why can't they act like it? People are shy...that's just the way they are, it's their temperament

    no one seems to have passed any psychology classes....

  4. #4
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    This still has a long way to go before it all plays out, but as I've stated before, guys like Murtha are looking at the situation from "inside" the locker room, and it's apparent that many of the problematic events happened "outside" the locker room, exclusively between Martin and Igcognito.

    I think Martin set himself up to some degree by being aloof and an outsider, but that doesn't mean he deserved to get pushed to the breaking point by a whack job like Incognito with threatening texts, voice mails, and who knows what else.

    I find it interesting that Murtha never says anything about someone pulling Martin aside, and maybe explaining to him how to best handle the situation, and that this was life in an NFL locker room. If that was done, maybe this never gets to the point it has.

    And as for Murtha not having a "dog in this fight", IMO, that's BS. He obviously is backing Incognito, and actually called him a "good, kind man and far from a racist", which is something scores of players who really "don't have a dog in this fight", have been lining up to refute.
    Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -11-09-2013 at 05:43 PM.

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    This still has a long way to go before it all plays out, but as I've stated before, guys like Murtha are looking at the situation from "inside" the locker room, and it's apparent that many of the problematic events happened "outside" the locker room, exclusively between Martin and Igcognito.

    I think Martin set himself up to some degree by being aloof and an outsider, but that doesn't mean he deserved to get pushed to the breaking point by a whack job like Incognito with threatening texts, voice mails and who knows what else.

    I find it interesting that Murtha never says anything about someone pulling Martin aside, and maybe explaining to him how to best handle the situation, and that this was life in an NFL locker room. If that was done, maybe this never gets to the point it has.

    And as for Murtha not having a "dog in this fight", IMO, that's BS. He obviously is backing Incognito, and actually called him a "good, kind man and far from a racist", which is something scores of players who really "don't have a dog in this fight", have been lining up to say.
    Usually there are two sides to every story. I have no idea as to what really occurred, or who is "guilty" of what. The only things that seem clear at this point are that Martin was considered by many to be standoffish, and Richie is not, and probably never will be, the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    As you say Mike, there is a long way to go before this story plays out. I'd venture an early guess that recent events do not bode well for Jeff Ireland's future as GM of the Dolphins .

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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    I've still yet to hear one person who has actually set foot in the Dolphins locker room say Incognito is in the wrong. I really think there was a huge rush to judgement on this based on several factors.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I've still yet to hear one person who has actually set foot in the Dolphins locker room say Incognito is in the wrong. I really think there was a huge rush to judgement on this based on several factors.
    Going against the grain in the Dolphins locker room seems to be a risky venture these days. Not sure any Dolphins player would want to speak out against Incognito given the prevailing attitude in their locker room.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I've still yet to hear one person who has actually set foot in the Dolphins locker room say Incognito is in the wrong. I really think there was a huge rush to judgement on this based on several factors.
    Yes, good Germans, one and all.

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    You know, for a guy that says he has no dog in this fight, it sure doesn't sound like it. Incognito was a good man. Martin was standoffish from the start, and we all thought it was weird. You'd have to suspend us all because everyone treated him the same. It's a man's game and real men either talk it out or fight it out, but it stays in house.

    In a sense, he's not really saying anything that changes the dynamic. Martin says he was bullied. Incognito says that what he considered bullying was part of the culture. It's probably safe to say that both are true. It's probably also safe to say that if anyone was going to take a culture of hazing too far, Richie Incognito would be one of the top names that comes to mind.

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Going against the grain in the Dolphins locker room seems to be a risky venture these days. Not sure any Dolphins player would want to speak out against Incognito given the prevailing attitude in their locker room.
    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro
    Yes, good Germans, one and all.
    Seriously, fellas?? If Incognito had a racist intent in ANY of this, you don't that lockerroom, the majority of which is African-American, wouldn't take a stand?

    Seriously?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Seriously, fellas?? If Incognito had a racist intent in ANY of this, you don't that lockerroom, the majority of which is African-American, wouldn't take a stand?

    Seriously?
    Nope, I don't think they would take a stand and rip their team apart, or risk being ostracized.

    I wonder if Warren Sapp thinks Incognito is a racist?

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Nope, I don't think they would take a stand and rip their team apart, or risk being ostracized.

    I wonder if Warren Sapp thinks Incognito is a racist?
    I wonder if Warren Sapp ever spent one minute with Jon Martin and Richie Incognito?

    I'm sorry, but if there was ill intent, even racist intent, towards Martin on the part of Incognito, I don't see any way that an entire roster not only doesn't support Martin's position but openly supports Incognito.

    An entire locker room openly supporting racism?

    I just don't see it.

    How would standing up to a racist rip a team apart? Since Incognito is gone, and Martin is free to come back when he chooses, it would actually be easier on team unity if they all sided with Martin.

    No, the only way to explain the actions of the Dolphins locker room is if the relationship between those two is as Incognito says it is. And a crude dialogue between participants is ruled as racism when viewed by non-participants.
    Last edited by HUbison; -11-10-2013 at 09:18 PM.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I wonder if Warren Sapp ever spent one minute with Jon Martin and Richie Incognito?
    He spent time with Incognito on the field, and Incognito called him the "n word".

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    An entire locker room openly supporting racism?
    I'm sure most in the Dolphins locker room don't see Incognito as racist, just "Richie being Richie". That being the case, any individual seeing the opposite view isn't going to say a thing. Just my opinion.

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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    He spent time with Incognito on the field, and Incognito called him the "n word".
    probably the first time that's ever happened on a football field, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I'm sure most in the Dolphins locker room don't see Incognito as racist, just "Richie being Richie". That being the case, any individual seeing the opposite view isn't going to say a thing. Just my opinion.
    So if most (the evidence so far would say, all) in that culture (the Dolphins locker room) see it as a non-issue, then why should anyone outside that culture be allowed to judge actions within that culture?

    It is ugly and repulsive to us. But it is seemingly accepted interactions in that culture. Not harmful. Not malicious. But rather built on a trusted relationship beyond what we outsiders can understand. Ultimately, that trust was broken. The question is....by whom? Those outside the know point to Incognito. Those inside the know point to Martin.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: "I donít have a dog in this fight." An insider's story - Cogs vs Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    probably the first time that's ever happened on a football field, right?


    So if most (the evidence so far would say, all) in that culture (the Dolphins locker room) see it as a non-issue, then why should anyone outside that culture be allowed to judge actions within that culture?

    It is ugly and repulsive to us. But it is seemingly accepted interactions in that culture. Not harmful. Not malicious. But rather built on a trusted relationship beyond what we outsiders can understand. Ultimately, that trust was broken. The question is....by whom? Those outside the know point to Incognito. Those inside the know point to Martin.
    The fact that this whole mess has found its way outside the locker room opens it up for public scrutiny IMO.

    I don't see the racism angle as really germane to the issue, it's more about possible unreasonable harassment and taking things too far. We'll just have to see how it plays out, which for better or worse, is going to happen outside the Dolphins locker room.

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