DAVIE, Fla. — 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 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.
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 who went about his business quietly, handled the situation well. But pro football is a macho world, and some players believe Martin should have responded more firmly.
“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.