*Jonathan Martin’s new attorney says the Miami Dolphins tackle endured harassment from teammates that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing, including a malicious physical attack and daily vulgar comments.
The allegations were made in a statement Thursday night by David Cornwell, hired this week as Martin’s attorney, and were punctuated at the end by an example of the abuse: an obscene message about having unprotected sex with Martin’s sister that allegedly was text messaged to him by an unnamed teammate.
“These facts are not in dispute,” Cornwell said.
Martin, upset by treatment he considered abusive, left the Dolphins last week. His agent then complained to the Dolphins, who suspended guard Richie Incognito.
The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin, and whether their teammates and the organization mishandled the matter.
Cornwell is a lawyer who has represented the NFL and several prominent players, including Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He was a candidate in 2009 to become executive director of the NFL Players Association, a job that went to DeMaurice Smith.
Here is Cornwell’s statement:
“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue. Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh’s ‘smash mouth’ brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck’s blind side.
“The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.
“Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.”