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Incognito denies bullying Martin in TV interview
(SportsNetwork.com) - Suspended Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito gave an interview to FOX Sports for its NFL Sunday pregame show and denied bullying teammate Jonathan Martin, but added that he may have been too harsh and regrets using racist language.
"I've taken stuff too far," Incognito told Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. "I did not intend to hurt him."
Martin left the team prior to its Week 9 win over Cincinnati and Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins this past Monday.
"This is an issue of my and Jon's relationship," Incognito said. "You can ask anybody in the Miami Dolphins locker room, 'who had Jon Martin's back the absolute most?' and they will undoubtedly tell you me."
As for the racist language in text messages left for Martin, Incognito said it was the way the two communicated with each other.
"All of this stuff coming out, just, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to the culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood," Incognito added. "And the racism, the bad words, you know, that's what I regret most, but that's a product of the environment, that's something that we use all the time.
"It sounds terrible. It sounds like I'm a racist pig. It sounds like a lot things that it's not."
Incognito said Martin also left him a text message that said Martin would "murder his whole (expletive) family" but didn't take it be serious.
"Now did I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit," he told Glazer. "I know it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That puts in context how we communicate with one another."
Incognito said he wished Martin would have come to him if he had known that his actions were hurting his teammate.
"If he were to say you took it way too far, you hurt me ... I never meant it that way."
The nine-year veteran said he was glad to hear how his teammates backed him this week and added that Martin had sent him a text after the reports first surfaced, saying he didn't blame any of his teammates for his situation.
Fox showed the text that Martin sent Incognito after Miami's win over the Bengals on Oct. 31.
"The worlds gone crazy lol. I'm good tho congrats on the win," Martin wrote. "I'm good man it's insane bro. But ust know I don't blame you guys at all. It's just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little."
Glazer said Incognito would not answer whether coaches instructed players to "toughen up" Martin, as had been reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel earlier this week.
The NFL has begun an investigation into the workplace conduct in the Dolphins' organization and Martin is expected to meet with league officials this week.
Miami is set to play Tampa Bay on Monday.
11/10 13:30:32 ET