Ted Wells, an independent investigator hired by the NFL to probe the Miami Dolphins’ bullying controversy, released his findings on Friday morning, and the details were alarming.
The Wells Report found that Jonathan Martin, other Miami Dolphins teammates and an assistant trainer were the subjects of harassment from Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry.
“After a thorough examination of the facts, we conclude that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman, whom we refer to as Player A for confidentiality reasons, and a member of the training staff, whom we refer to as the Assistant Trainer,” the report reads. “We find that the Assistant Trainer repeatedly was targeted with racial slurs and other racially derogatory language. Player A frequently was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching. Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.”
The full report can be found on NFLDolphinsReport.com.
The report details how Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey made Pearl Harbor jokes directed at the Japanese assistant trainer. It also finds that Incognito knew that his harassment was affecting Martin and other teammates. The offensive line had a fine book, where they would have to donate money for “breaking” Martin and other offensive linemen.
“Incognito told us that he and other offensive linemen routinely speculated, albeit in jest, about which of their teammates would “break first” in response to taunting, and notations in the fine book substantiate this,” the report reads. “One lineman, Nate Garner, was subjected to so much derision that a joke developed that Garner, who owned several guns, might “break” by coming to the Dolphins facility and shooting everyone.”
The report also finds that offensive line coach Jim Turner was in on the harassment of an unidentified “Player A.” Turner texted Martin in an attempt to clear Incognito after the offensive lineman left the Dolphins.
Read their text exchange below.
“November 2, 2013:
Turner: Richie incognito is getting hammered on national TV. This is not right. You could put an end to all the rumors with a simple statement. DO THE RIGHT THING. NOW.
Martin: Coach. I want to put out a statement. Believe me I do. This thing has become such a huge story somehow. But I’ve been advised not to… And I’m not supposed to text anyone either cuz last time I responded to a teammate (Richie) I was intentionally manipulated and the conversation was immediately forwarded to a reporter.
Turner: He is protecting himself. He has been beat up for 4 days. Put an end to this. You are a grown man. Do the right thing
Turner: John I want the best for you and your health but make a statement and take the heat off Richie and the lockerroom. This isn’t right.
November 3, 2013:
Turner: I know you are a man of character. Where is it?
November 6, 2013:
Turner: It is never to (sic) late to do the right thing!”
The NFL says they will comment further once they have reviewed the full report.
“Our office has received the report of independent counsel Ted Wells, which sets forth the findings of his investigation into the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins,” the league said in a statement. “Consistent with our commitment at the outset of this matter, the full report has been transmitted to our clubs and has been made public. We appreciate the work of Ted Wells and his colleagues and the cooperation of the Miami Dolphins organization in the investigation. After we have had an opportunity to review the report, we will have further comment as appropriate.”
The NFL players association says they too will review the report.
“We received the report on workplace conditions in Miami today,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We will review the findings closely, confer with our players and all relevant parties involved.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he felt it was important for Wells to independently review the harassment.
“We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings,” Ross said in a statement. “When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.“
Incognito’s lawyer, Mark Schamel, released a statement denying the facts of the Wells Report, even though Incognito admitted to many of the findings within the report.
“Mr. Wells’ NFL report is replete with errors,” Schamel said. “The facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin’s mental health, drug use, or on field performance issues were related to the treatment by his teammates. It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising. The truth, as reported by the Dolphins players and as shown by the evidence, is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins’ offensive line.”