DAVIE, Fla. - The National Football League is conducting an independent review of the Miami Dolphins following player misconduct allegations made against lineman Richie Incognito by his teammate, Jonathan Martin.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Ted Wells, a prominent New York-based criminal attorney, to head the review.
"If the review reveals anything that needs to be corrected, we will take all necessary measures to fix it and make sure this doesn't happen again," said head coach Joe Philbin. "I believe in the men in our locker room and I believe in our coaching staff, and that's exactly what I communicated to them today (Wednesday)."
Philbin said he was unaware of alleged misconduct by Incognito against Martin until Martin's representatives informed the team Sunday evening.
"I think if you would have asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito, the first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there," said quarterback Ryan Tannehill. "When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jon."
The central allegation against Incognito involves messages to Martin, including a voice mail in which Incognito allegedly used racial slurs, threatened physical violence, and used the words, "I'll kill you." Martin's representatives have turned materials over to the NFL for an investigation.
Incognito allegedly also got Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of Dolphins even though Martin preferred not to travel with them. Martin gave Incognito the money, fearing the consequences if he did not, ESPN reported.
Incognito, on Twitter, accused a news organization of "attaching my name to false speculation," but that tweet and others were later deleted, according to bleacherreport.com. Incognito has been suspended; Martin left the team. It's unclear what lies in store for either of them.
The Sun Sentinel reports that Dolphins coaches had asked Incognito to toughen up Martin -- orders he may have taken too far. The report does not say whether Philbin himself made the request.
Philbin did tell players each year to "cut out" rookie hazing, the paper reports.
Ricky Williams, who played with Incognito in Miami, said he believes a coach should only step in if behind-the-scenes behavior affects play on the field. "The locker room, we keep coaches out for a reason. It's our space," Williams told KGMZ-FM in San Francisco, according to NFL.com. There is "a lack of leadership in that locker room," he said of the Dolphins.
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