A Miami Dolphins player who left threatening, racist messages for one of his teammates, may have done so after being asked by coaches to "toughen up" the other player. Offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended this week after allegedly tormenting his fellow lineman, Jonathan Martin, to the point that Martin chose to leave the team and seek help. Now more questions are being raised about the team culture that allowed that to happen.
The key piece of evidence against Incognito is a voicemail that he left for Martin last April, in which he called Martin a "half-n---er" and threatened to kill him. (Martin is biracial, Incognito is white.) According to The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, the message was delivered after Martin, who is in his second year in the NFL, missed a series of voluntary workouts during the spring. The message seemed designed to goad Martin into being more of a team player.
The Sun-Sentinel's sources also say that Incognito was asked by Miami's coaching staff to talk to Martin and "bring him to the fold." Those same sources are not alleging that the coaches condoned or ordered the abuse. After all, asking a veteran to try and motivate a younger player is not unusual, but Incognito's approach clearly crossed a line.