That was my first thought upon reading the Ted Wells report, released to the public by the NFL on this Valentine's Day. Just when it seemed Richie Incognito had a chance to be given the benefit of the doubt — due to his barrage of tweets directed at Jonathan Martin the other day — it actually appears that Incognito will forever be stained by being complicit in creating an unimaginable workplace environment inside the Miami Dolphins' locker room.
And it wasn't just Incognito. Though the media attention has focused mostly on Incognito, teammates Mike Pouncey and John Jerry were given a considerable amount of blame in the report. In its introductory summary, the report states that while the three Dolphins' offensive linemen weren't trying to get Martin to quit, their bullying tactics were done with motivation to get their teammate to submit to the abusive behavior.
It makes me sick to think that I was beginning to think Martin's allegations could be without merit, given the recent text messages Incognito released. As the report states, just because Martin texted Incognito that he didn't blame him for leaving the team, it doesn't excuse the actions of the bullies. As a psychiatrist notes in the report, Martin's behavior fits a classic profile of someone trying to befriend another in an abusive relationship.
Most of the stuff in the Wells report is sickening.
1) Incognito, Pouncey and Jerry graphically depicted what they would do to Martin's sister, and later his mother. Read the report to find the details.
2) In addition to Martin, Incognito, Pouncey and Jerry bullied an Asian-American assistant trainer. On the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing, they showed up to practice wearing traditional Japanese headbands and told the assistant trainer they would get retaliation for the attack that prompted the U.S. to enter World War II.
3) The players taunted another fellow lineman and regularly accused him of being gay. They would occasionally grab his buttocks in a suggestive manner, in efforts to humiliate him in front of other teammates. Even offensive line coach Jim Turner joined in on the bullying. For Christmas, as a gag gift, he gave his offensive linemen female blow-up dolls. Except for this one lineman. He received a male blow-up doll.
4) We all know about the cafeteria incident when Martin was fed up, slammed his tray down and bolted out of the Dolphins' facility. According to the report, Martin had received a great deal of verbal abuse that day. After Incognito called Martin a "stinky Pakistani" in front of his teammates, Martin went to sit down with his fellow linemen. When Martin got close, the linemen played a prank on him, standing up as if to leave. That's when Martin had enough and stormed out.
Locker room culture is different than a typical American workplace. But NFL locker rooms should have limits, you'd think. And where was Joe Philbin in all of this? The report details the Dolphins' locker room as a place of high dysfunction. And it's likely a lot of the Dolphins' players won't see it that way. To the outside world, it should be disgusting.
There has been some mild conversation on the web recently about whether the Ravens should take a chance on Incognito. My response to that is an emphatic NO. Furthermore, any NFL team that gives Incognito the time and day to make their roster should be vilified. No one should touch this guy. His career should officially end today. There's no place in this game for people like Incognito. And honestly, the same applies to Pouncey and Jerry.
Martin endured a lot psychologically during his time in Miami. It's clear, if you actually take the time to read the full report, that Martin's initial claims were not off base and spot on. In fact, what the report revealed was far more damning than a lot of us probably imagined it would be.