Friday, February 14, 2014
Quick takeaways from Ted Wells report
By James Walker
Here are five quick takeaways from the much-anticipated Ted Wells report, which was released Friday after the NFL's three-month investigation into bullying and harassment claims made by Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin:
1. Multiple Dolphins were involved: The Wells report was not just about Richie Incognito, who became the face of this story when it first surfaced. The report also included many instances of harassment by John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. The report stated that Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey were "equal-opportunity harassers" of fellow offensive linemen, and that they made graphic comments about Martin's sister. Jerry and Pouncey also accused Martin of not being "black enough," according to the report.
Jerry will become an unrestricted free agent in March, and it appears more likely that he won't return. The Dolphins also have to look into Pouncey's involvement and determine if punishment is necessary. Pouncey is one of the best players on the team.
2. Jim Turner's future in jeopardy: I don't see how offensive line coach Jim Turner can keep his job with the Dolphins. Turner was supposed to be an overseer of this situation, but it turns out in some instances he was a participant. Turner used crass language toward Martin and even played a homophobic prank on another Dolphin, according to the report. The Dolphins recently hired assistant offensive line coach John Benton, formerly of the Texans. Perhaps this was in anticipation of the team eventually cutting ties with Turner.
3. Racial issues aplenty: I found it disturbing how racial insults almost seemed a normal part of Miami's locker room culture. The report detailed many uses of the N-word as well as the harassment of an assistant trainer who was born in Japan and was subjected to various insults that made him feel uncomfortable. This part of the Dolphins' culture is something that must be examined.
4. Martin twice contemplated suicide: The Wells report confirmed that Martin twice thought about taking his own life in 2013. Martin told investigators that he had no issues with depression during his four years playing football at Stanford. But Miami's football culture and persistent harassment deeply impacted him. Depression is a serious issue. Is Martin mentally ready to return to an NFL locker room? Does he need more time before he resumes his career?
5. Martin and Incognito were friends: The report confirmed what many suspected, that Martin and Incognito were friends. Incognito called Martin his "road dog" in interviews with investigators. Many Dolphins players told Wells the two were inseparable. Whether this was a twisted friendship is up for interpretation. At one point, Martin said he befriended Incognito in an attempt to stop the harassment.