Report: Miami rookies ‘ATMs’ for vets
The Jonathan Martin story continues to unfold, even as the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman remains away from the team. On Sunday night, FOX NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported that Martin, who left the team last week for personal reasons, told the NFL Players Association and team officials that teammate Richie Incognito sent Martin text messages and left him voicemails that were both threatening and racially charged in nature. Shortly thereafter, the Dolphins suspended Incognito.
But while the situation with Martin, a 2012 second-round pick, is the most high-profile to come out of Dolphins camp as it pertains to problems between young players and veterans, it is not the only one.
According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, some Dolphins players are essentially being held hostage by veterans, who have been using the younger guys as "ATMs" to benefit their lavish Miami lifestyles. Beasley reported that one player has even "gone broke" because of the veterans constantly taking advantage of him.
One such instance was when the rookies were stuck with a $30,000 bill during a recent team dinner. Veteran defensive end Jared Odrick tweeted about the incident, showing off a picture of the team at dinner and even following it up by noting how expensive the bill was.
Everything tastes better when rookies pay for it pic.twitter.com/KGaisEfap2
— Jared Odrick (@JaredOdrick98) November 2, 2013
"Yes that bill would make you sick," Odrick tweeted out later. He’s since deleted the Tweet from his account. Rookie safety Will Davis, who makes $405,000 this season, confirmed the report soon thereafter with a tweet of his own.
I just seen a dinner bill for $30,000… WOW #RookieNight
— Will Davis (@WillieD_effect) November 2, 2013
It’s not uncommon for veterans to have a bit of fun at the rookies’ expense. Many teams will have rookies pick up the bill on a big meal or a similar outing, but while $30,000 might be chump change to vested veterans, it’s a lot of money for rookies who likely are only making somewhere in the $400,000 to $1 million range.
If the supposed “bullying” inside the Dolphins’ locker room is directly related to money, things could get even more complicated for Miami this season. They’re already at a disadvantage without Martin, who is the team’s starting right tackle, on the field, and could eventually be subject to some off-field investigations by the NFL or NFLPA on the issue.
What’s more, Garafolo said sources told him rookies had to "pick up the bill at a strip club in addition to other dinners."
Additionally, ESPN reported that Martin contributed $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of Dolphins last summer, even though Martin did not go on the trip. ESPN reported that Martin opted to pay Incognito the money rather than go, fearing the consequences if he did not pay the money. Incognito tweeted a harsh denial to ESPN.