On October 28, 2013, Jonathan Martin, an offensive tackle with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, abruptly walked out of the team’s practice facility and checked himself into a hospital, requesting psychological treatment. He left because his teammates had subjected him to continuous bullying and harassment.
The NFL commissioned the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to find out exactly what happened. Last month its report was issued. According to the author, Ted Wells,
The Report concludes that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.
The Report rejects any suggestion that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team. Contemporaneous text messages that Martin sent to his parents and others months before he left the Dolphins—which have never before been made public—corroborate his account that the persistent harassment by his teammates caused him significant emotional distress. The Report concludes that the harassment by Martin’s teammates was a contributing factor in his decision to leave the team, but also finds that Martin’s teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury.
The entire 148-page report is available online. It is very readable, although at times it is vulgar, as the crude harassing statements were included verbatim.
This report is the most comprehensive account of a case of bullying and harassment that I’ve ever see, describing exactly what happened and how the targets were affected. I hope it sheds light on the harm bullying and harassment causes.
Download a PDF of the report here: