The Jonathan Martin situation continues to unfurl and escalate, with the latest allegations turning what seemed to be a simple case of bullying into perhaps much more.
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Multiple sources told FOX Sports the Miami Dolphins and the NFL Players Association have been told guard Richie Incognito sent Martin text messages and left him voicemails that are both threatening and racially charged in nature. Sources said those messages will be shared with the league as part of the investigation.
This new information resulted in the Dolphins changing their tone from claiming the organization was not notified of any bullying to saying the club would ask the NFL for help in investigating a matter the organization takes "very seriously" and finally to suspending Incognito indefinitely for "conduct detrimental to the team."
The explosive information concerning racially charged threats means the league is not dealing with harassment here. This is an alleged hate crime.
According to a CBS Sports report, Incognito referred to the biracial Martin as a "half-n—–" and threatened to track down members of Martin’s family and harm them.
The Dolphins declined specific comment and deferred to the league office, which is handling the investigation. A league spokesman had no comment on the specifics of the case, saying only the NFL will conduct a "thorough review" of the situation.
Martin has been away from the team since walking out of the facility following a prank played by his fellow offensive linemen last Monday in the cafeteria. The team listed Martin on the injury report with an unspecified "illness." FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Martin was receiving treatment. Glazer stated on FOX NFL Sunday "there’s a lot more to the story with Jonathan Martin personally than meets the eye."
Earlier Sunday, the Dolphins had released a statement refuting reports Martin had left the team over bullying.
"The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally," the statement read in part.
Meanwhile, Incognito took to Twitter to criticize the speculation that he played a part in Martin leaving the team. "I want my named CLEARED," he wrote in one of several tweets defending himself against the allegations.
But by Sunday evening, the Dolphins had suspended Incognito, saying in a statement: "We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another, and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time."
Martin, a second-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2012, started the first six games at left tackle this season before moving to right tackle for the Oct. 27 loss at New England. Tyson Clabo replaced him in Thursday night’s overtime win against Cincinnati.