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Richie Incognito denies bullying Jonathan Martin, says Dolphins told him to toughen him up

Jesse Reed
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Richie Incognito wants to set the record straight about his involvement in the infamous Jonathan Martin bullying scandal during his time with the Miami Dolphins.

Incognito, now with the Oakland Raiders, is set to appear on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” next Tuesday. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, during that interview he says he never bullied Martin, that the Ted Wells report was unfair, that the Dolphins told him to toughen up Martin and that mental health issues drove Martin out of the NFL.

There’s a whole lot to unpack here.

Incognito was accused, along with John Jerry and Mike Pouncey (Dolphins offensive linemen at that time) of “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,” Wells said in a statement after releasing his report back in 2014.

At the time, Incognito’s lawyer refuted the report, saying, “It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising.”

After sitting out some of the season as a member of the Dolphins in 2013 after accusing Incognito of bullying him, Martin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He appeared in 15 games for the 49ers in 2014 but was waived by the team in the spring of 2015. He then retired from the NFL a few months later due to a back injury.

In 2018, Martin was arrested and held at a mental health facility after threatening to shoot up his old high school, tagging Incognito, Pouncey and others in an Instagram post that read “When you’re a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge.”

As for Incognito, he has dealt with mental health challenges himself. He missed the entire 2018 season following his own arrest for threatening to shoot funeral home employees after the death of his father. Prior to that, he was arrested and placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold following an incident at a gym where he threw a dumbbell at someone during an altercation.