Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin wasn’t in uniform for Thursday’s OT win over the Bengals, not after bolting from team facilities on Monday after what was described as a prank-gone-too-far. At least one media outlet is reporting the NFLPA is looking into claims Martin was routinely bullied by Miami teammates, and Thursday’s ESPN ticker featured the startling bit of information that he’d been dubbed, “Big Weirdo” by his colleagues. On Friday, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin strongly denied such abuse was a common practice, with quotes furnished by the Miami Herald’s Adam H. Beasley :
“This is something we take very seriously,” Philbin said. “I can say without question that we emphasize a culture of team first, accountability and respect for one another.”
“I’ve never been on a team or been part of a team where there wasn’t respect among the players in the locker room, the staff amongst themselves, the players respecting the coaches and the coaches respecting the players. If you don’t have that in this league, or Pop Warner, or high school or college, you don’t have a chance. I believe strongly in the men we have in the locker room, and I believe strongly in the staff.”
Dolphins players, who were off Friday, uniformly said late Thursday they would accept Martin back. However, that might be easier said than done.
Former University of Miami lineman Brett Romberg, appearing on 790 The Ticket Friday morning, said that he had “no sympathy” for Martin – and that he was speaking on behalf of the vast majority of football players.
“If you want to be sensitive, go play tennis,” said Romberg, who played parts of eight seasons in the NFL with three different teams.