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Associated Press
Miami offensive linemen Richie Incognito, center left, and Jonathan Martin, center right, are in middle of a bullying-in-the-locker room controversy.

Attorney: Martin was target of harassment

– 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.

“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’s statement alleges an unidentified Dolphins player threatened Martin’s sister in vulgar fashion.

“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,” the statement said. “This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. ...

“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.”

The Dolphins and Incognito’s agent didn’t respond to requests for comment on Cornwell’s statement.

Some say Martin, a Stanford graduate, handled the situation well. But pro football is a macho world, and some players believe Martin should have responded more firmly.

“Is Incognito wrong? Absolutely. He’s 100 percent wrong,” New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. “No individual should have to go through that, especially in their workplace.

“But at the same time, Jonathan Martin is a 6-4, 320-pound man. I mean, at some point and time you need to stand your ground as an individual. Am I saying go attack, go fight him? No. I think we all understand we can stand our ground without anything being physical.”

Cornwell disagreed.

“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue,” Cornwell said. “The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates.”

Dolphins players have robustly defended Incognito, long considered among the NFL’s dirtiest players. He’s now a notorious national villain, but teammates praise his leadership and loyalty.

They’ve been less passionate in their support of Martin, saying he and Incognito behaved like best friends.

“They did a lot of stuff together,” tackle Tyson Clabo said.

“So if he had a problem with the way he was treating him, he had a funny way of showing it.”

Martin is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues.

A senior partner in a New York law firm was appointed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate possible misconduct and prepare a report.

Incognito’s harassment of Martin included text messages that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation have told The Associated Press. Incognito is white, while Martin is biracial.

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