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Extra Points: Wells 'blows' the lid off the obvious
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There are really two schools of thought in the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, which reached a crescendo Friday after special investigator Ted Wells revealed his long- awaited report excoriating Incognito and his partners in crime, fellow offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry.
Former NFL linebacker Seth Joyner preached the realist's point of view via Twitter: "Here we go with this Incognito, J Martin nonsense! Enough already tired of hearing a grown ass man was bullied.....sorry, Man up!," the former All-Pro wrote.
Green Bay offensive lineman T.J. Lang disagreed and went the pie-in-the-sky route while also hoping to distance himself from Incognito and his politically-incorrect brethren.
"Please don't stereotype NFL players for what's going on with Miami. That type of stuff is not common in other locker rooms," Lang stated.
To me, it was let's spend a lot of time and money to investigate something we already know.
In fact, it was like Deja Vu all over again when scanning Wells' take on the bullying in Miami, the same feeling I got when first reading George Mitchell's cut-and-paste "report" on steroid use in baseball.
Nothing in Wells' report shocked or surprised me because anyone who has been around the NFL for any length of time understands people like Richie Incognito exist and are certainly not rare.
The report concluded that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line -- Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey -- engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Martin, but also another young Dolphins' offensive lineman and Japanese assistant trainer Naohisa Inoue. It also implicated offensive line coach Jim Turner, whose statements to investigators were discredited multiple times in the 144-page report.
"When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations," the Dolphins' said in a statement. "As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."
Martin was reportedly taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother while also being ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.
Wells also rejected the idea that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team but acknowledges he has had a history of depression dating back to before Incognito and Co. started harassing him.
Inoue, meanwhile, was repeatedly the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language, according to Wells, while the other offensive lineman -- believed to be current Carolina Panthers tackle Andrew McDonald -- was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching.
Incognito's lawyer, Mark Schamel, countered with a strongly worded statement criticizing Wells' work and promising a rebuttal.
"Mr. Wells' NFL report is replete with errors," Schamel's statement said. "The facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin's mental health, drug use, or on field performance issues were related to the treatment by his teammates.
"It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising. The truth, as reported by the Dolphins players and as shown by the evidence, is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins offensive line. We are analyzing the entire report and will release a thorough analysis as soon as it is ready."
The Wells Report concludes that the harassment by Martin's teammates was a contributing factor in his decision to leave the team, but also finds that Martin's teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury, seemingly conflicting points of view but also a correct interpretation of what happened here.
Incognito and Jerry both told Wells everyone got goofed on as a way to build "brotherhood."
Trainer Kevin O'Neill, meanwhile, told Martin he was too nice and to stand up for himself -- a tact which would have stopped all this nonsense.
Critics may jump on that thought as a defense of Incognito's boorish behavior or an indictment of Martin by someone who doesn't understand depression or the fear of the bullying.
Far from it. When writing about Michael Sam earlier this week, I felt it was important to take aim at the assumption that any potential gay player being teased by the Incognitos of the world would be a shrinking violet.
From day one the Martin case was about an extremely sensitive individual being thrust into a world of alpha males who act in a way that you don't want to talk about at parties.
"As all must surely recognize, the NFL is not an ordinary workplace," the report's conclusion read. "Professional football is a rough, contact sport played by men of exceptional size, speed, strength and athleticism. But even the largest, strongest and fleetest person may be driven to despair by bullying, taunting and constant insults."
Captain Obvious would be so proud.
So what's the answer?
"We encourage the creation of new workplace conduct rules and guidelines that will help ensure that players respect each other as professionals and people," the report read.
And we might as well also petition for the opening of that puppy dogs and fireworks store right next to the Unicorn petting zoo.
02/14 16:12:10 ET