The Dolphins this evening have suspended guard Richie Incognito, citing conduct detrimental to the team, in connection to allegations of harassment and bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.
“The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team. We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time," the team said in a statement. "As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter."
Incognito allegedly was involved in behavior that made Martin feel he was in a difficult work place environment. That behavior including verbal abuse, and implied pressure over Martin to bend to Incognito's will, a source close to Martin alleges. The source also said Martin felt threatened by Incognito and said there is evidence of that threat in the form of text messages and voice mails.
The source said that evidence has been turned over to the Dolphins.
A Dolphins source said Sunday night whatever evidence is turned over to them will in turn be turned over to the NFL which is investigating the matter.
However, the fact the team has taken the significant step to suspend Incognito even as the investigation is in its infancy is a sign the team believes Martin and the evidence he's presented to a high degree.
The NFL was made aware of the team's intent to suspend Incognito before the decision was finalized. The suspension is indefinite.
And as Martin has no current plans to return to the team in the near future, according to a source, it means the Dolphins will be without their starting left guard and starting right tackle when they resume practice at 2:45 Monday afternoon.
The Dolphins are expected to work with Nate Garner at left guard and Tyson Clabo at right tackle. Both players manned those positions against the Cincinnati Bengals after Martin went AWOL from the team prior to the game and Incognito suffered a stinger in his neck in the first half and was unable to return to the game.
Incognito has not been available for comment. He is expected to seek representation to fight the allegations.
Sunday was a very active day for the Dolphins as they've been working this issue. Early in the day they released a statement saying, in part, "the notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally."
Following the release of that statement, Incognito went on twitter to suggest media accounts of his involvement were wrong and that he wanted his name "cleared."
Approximately five hours later, after the Martin camp presented a formal complaint of "hateful" behavior, a source said, the club released a statement saying it had allegations of player misconduct. And within seven hours of that, the club had made and communicated to Incognito the decision to suspend him.
The news of the suspension was delivered to Incognito by coach Joe Philbin.
This episode closed quite a week for the Dolphins offensive line. Center Mike Pouncey was served a subpoena in connection to the Aaron Hernandez murder case on Sunday. Martin went AWOL from the team on Monday. And then the Incognito suspension.
And here we thought the biggest problem with the Miami offensive line was sacks.