In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68), center left, and and tackle Jonathan Martin (71), center right, sit on the bench in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. About halfway between the start of exhibition games and the Super Bowl, there have been plenty of unwanted story lines. Bullying in the locker room, coaches collapsing, serious injuries to marquee players, the D.C. Council’s call on Washington’s pro football team to change its name _ examples from the past week alone. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)
by Steven Wine
AP Sports Writer
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The latest allegations from tackle Jonathan Martin went mostly unanswered Saturday by the Miami Dolphins, weary of fending off questions about the harassment case that has rocked the franchise.
“I’m not going to give you nothing,” offensive lineman Nate Garner told a throng of reporters in a genial tone.
“I’m only talking about football,” center Mike Pouncey said.
“We have a game on Monday,” defensive end Cameron Wake added. “I’m not thinking about anybody that’s not in this locker room, and that’s the truth.”
The Dolphins creating all the attention this week aren’t with the team. Martin left last week and alleges he was harassed by teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who has been suspended.
On Saturday night, Fox Sports released a preview of an interview with Incognito.
“This isn’t an issue about bullying,” Incognito told Fox. “This is an issue of my and John’s relationship. You can ask anyone in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most and they’ll undoubtedly tell you me.
“All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood. The racism, the bad words, that’s what I regret most, but that’s a product of the environment. That’s something that we use all the time.”
Without Incognito and Martin, Miami (4-4) will be short-handed for Monday night’s game at Tampa Bay (0-8), but blocking and tackling will offer a brief respite from the relentless revelations in the bullying scandal.
“The pressure this has created from a media standpoint can really cause some problems,” tackle Tyson Clabo said. “But as far as the guys in this locker room, we all pretty much see this thing through the same set of eyes. We’re ready to go and try to change the narrative here to get back to football.”
Martin, who’s in counseling for emotional issues, will discuss the case late next week with a special investigator hired by the NFL. Allegations by the second-year pro include a malicious physical attack by a teammate.
“Since I’ve been here I haven’t seen anything like that,” said Clabo, who joined the Dolphins in May.
Incognito has long been known for out-of-bounds behavior, including a May 2012 incident that surfaced this week. A police report said a female volunteer at a Dolphins charity golf tournament complained that Incognito harassed her.
“We were made aware of the incident and we took immediate action,” coach Joe Philbin said. “That’s all I’m going to say. … Any club action we would take against any player would be kept private.”
Philbin declined to say why he subsequently allowed Incognito to become a member of the player leadership council.
Media interest remained high Saturday, with some 75 reporters and cameramen descending on the team complex. Half a dozen TV vans camped out across the street from the entrance, monitoring comings and goings.
Adding to the commotion was a caravan of two dozen police motorcycles that pulled into the parking ramp adjacent to the practice field. They weren’t on scandal watch — President Obama happened to playing golf across the street.
Players stretched at the start of practice to the sounds of “Me Against the World” by Tupac, a song chosen for the occasion by the players. “Stuck in the game,” Tupac rapped. “No one in the world loves me. … So no matter how hard it get, stick your chest out. Keep your head up and handle it.”
The Dolphins haven’t played since Oct. 31, when they beat Cincinnati on an overtime safety in prime time just as the scandal was beginning to build. That victory was quickly forgotten.
“We don’t hear anything about winning last week on a safety,” cornerback Brent Grimes said with a laugh. “We just went right into this. The situation stinks.”
In a locker room that was already showing signs of dissension, the situation’s potentially divisive.
“It can be,” defensive tackle Randy Starks said. “But right now we’re sticking together.”
“We’re a band of brothers,” Pouncey said. “We’re here for one thing, and that’s to play football and to win football games, and that has been our main focus since all of this has gone down.”
Players have been more vocal in their support of Incognito than Martin, but Clabo said there’s plenty of sympathy for both. It’s uncertain whether either will play again in the NFL.
“Those guys are going through a lot right now,” Clabo said. “I feel for both of them and the situation they’re in. It can’t be easy for either one of them. It’s not fun.”
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