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Miami Dolphins hazing, pranks, bullying may run afoul of NFL Personal Conduct Policy

Players on the Dolphins, under review by the NFL, may have violated portions of the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy if allegations of harassment of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and other allegations involving the treatment of younger players are proven true, according to league sources.

The NFL Personal Conduct policy imposes a standard of conduct for league and club employes, including players and coaches. That policy states employees of the NFL or a member clubs are "held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful.

"Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime."

Employees found in violation of the policy may have discipline imposed for any of the following circumstances: 

• Violent or threatening behavior among employees, whether in or outside the workplace.

• Conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person; and

• Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.

In recent days there have been numerous reports of alleged harassment or mistreatment or even "bullying" of Martin. That alleged bullying included Martin being the subject of a prank in the team's lunch room when other players invited him to have lunch with them. Martin, the story goes, sat down and his teammates all got up and left him alone at the table.

ESPN and CBSSports reported today that Dolphins guard Richie Incognito is one of the leaders of the alleged poor treatment of Martin and gave examples of the veteran guard's actions.

Incognito and the club have pushed back against such reports. Incognito defended himself on twitter and the Dolphins released a statement saying the club knows of no bullying that is going on relative to Martin.

[Update: The Dolphins released a statement at approximately 4:30 Sunday saying, "We received notification today from Jonathan's representation about allegations of player misconduct. We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."]

The NFL is conducting a review on the matter which could lead to actions if it finds violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFL Players Association is also not conducting a formal investigation.

And this issue is bound to become more complex before it gets resolved.

Part of the issue is that Martin, which the club maintains is ill, is now through representatives apparently offering details and naming names in incidents of misconduct. But, interestingly, the club is aware of at least one incident in which Martin participated in what could be construed as pranksterism or hazing or, bullying.

Earlier this year, members of the offensive line took guard Josh Samuda's car keys and moved the car from where Samuda had parked it. Martin, a club source confirmed today, was part of that prank.

Also, one source tells me that the same joke that apparently sent Martin over the proverbial edge -- the lunchroom prank in which players abandon one teammate -- was done to guard Nate Garner the week before.

And Martin was allegedly involved in helping to perpetrate that one.

Another layer and tangential to this story is the Dolphins embracing of rookie hazing. The NFL confirmed to me that rookie hazing does indeed fall under the NFL personal conduct policy. And so at the point where players are forced to shave or dye their hair, or carry gear for veterans, or pay for meals out or bring ordered meals on team flights for veterans, it all falls under the policy.

There are numerous and well documented accounts of such hazing.

Do they rise to the level of bullying? That is unclear.

Are the acts subject to the NFL Personal Conduct Policy? Absolutely.





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He also had stone hands in Miami.

Posted by: The Evaluator | November 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM

Thank you very much. BOBBYD12 seems to be well UNAWARE of this true FACTOID!

All the Martin situation stems from is demotion to RT with the acquisition of McKinnie. Distraught, he just wasn't in the mood for pranks the day that it happened.

I say it all generated over Martin being distraught over being moved back to RT. Its the seed that spawned the entire controversy.

And yet, those same things have been documented on HBO "Hard Knocks" by EVERY team that ever participated in the show...Not a story.

Wow, another td by Chiefs defense. First Sean Smith 101yd pic 6. Now Tamba Hali's 10yd td fumble return.

Chief's defense seems both lucky and for real. Just not sure which is most legit.

Had McKinnie not been acquired that week, I'm sure we would never be hearing or reading of this travesty.

You'd think he'd delete this...

Richie incognitoVerified account
Laugh now.... Cry later rookie pic.twitter.com/jwyGwVTd
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For anyone that has never been in the military there was a story that was "broke" by 20/20 or the like over "hazing" in the military. One such example is what we called "Blood wings". Basically when you get promoted, especially to Sergeant, you have to walk the "gauntlent", where your fellow soldier take turns pounding your newly pinned rank with both fists into your collar, where the pins rest; before the clasps are attached. This obviously punctures your skin. This was pointed out and there was a huge fuss, and it was a condemned and even a punishable action. Years later, when I got promoted to Sergeant, and all those before and after me, however, still endured this painful form of "hazing". It's a silly, stupid tradition that's been around hundreds of years, and while I'm sure nobody looks forward to it, it heals and you move on.

Female soldiers also took this "hazing". Black kids are getting killed trying to make the "Drumline" and these guys are crying about paying for dinner or dying their hair, or getting embarrassed while they make a MINIMUM salary of half a mill? Ridiculous.

A lot of posters here are pretty ignorant when it comes to bully tactics. Let me try and clarify (as a former bully and also stood up to a bully in elementary school). My friend and I bullied an Asian girl in 4th grade so bad she stayed home from school for a week (we were brought into the principal's office with our parents to sort everything out). While we never touched or threatened her outright, we poked fun at her so bad, and intimidated her with the knowledge that no one would believe her over us, that finally she just couldn't take it and broke. This was over 1/2 year. It was a real eye-opener as I was a friendly guy and didn't mean any harm, thought it was all in good fun. But for her, it wasn't. Taught me a lot about treating others respectfully and not ostracizing anyone.

That year I was in a class of 1/2 4th and 1/2 5th graders. Later (after my bullying incident), a 5th grader started bullying a friend of mine on the playground. Since I was one of the "cool" kids, plus seeing first-hand the effects of my own bullying, I stood up to the bully, and he soon dropped his vendetta against my friend.

I say all this to say JMart could be absolutely right that he was bullied, and that he doesn't want retribution from the locker room when (if) he returns, so he's scared to say anything (in my case, the reason the Asian girl stayed home so long was to ensure the issue would be resolved before she came back).

But here, I don't see anything being resolved. Philbin, Mr "Character", instead of dealing with the issue, is being tight-lipped (probably like Dawn Aponte has suggested) which to JMart means he's defending Incognito. And does anyone really DOUBT Incognito is a bullying type? He's a dirty player on the field, and seems very juvenile. I understand pranks during training camp, but during the Season? And to a 2nd year player? What type of crap is that? This is a BUSINESS. In my job, we may joke with each other now and again, but for the most part we don't have time for pranks. Not sure what Philbin is doing during the week, but maybe he needs to find out what his "men-of-character" in the locker room are actually doing. Because if I was an OL, I'd be embarrassed and angry and stay in the FUKKING OL room to try and figure out why I SUCKED so bad. Incognito is absolutely, 100% GONE after the Season, he needs to just keep his head down, play the last 8 games and BOUNCE. You suck bro, I saw you give up a sack and just stand there dumbfounded vs. Cincy. You're on your what, 3rd, 4th team? Typical journeyman. Try perfecting your craft and maybe you'll stick around somewhere. Or retire, who cares. You're obviously not part of the solution here, so therefore you're part of the problem.

"The NFL is not conducting an investagation on the matter"
So shouldn't the real story be how long until Martin is out of the league??? Cuz he's done...

"players are forced to shave or dye their hair, or carry gear for veterans, or pay for meals out or bring ordered meals on team flights for veterans, it all falls under the policy."
And then the next story is how this is a crock of shyt...as scary as it sounds Omar Kelly makes some real good points on this...its also a right of passage we shoukd be ALL aware of...Martin seemingly being this big a byotch about it stamps his ticket...

Really Armando...the items you have listed..such as carrying gear..or having a players hair dyed has been going on every year. Hard Knocks shows it goes on with every team. Nobody ever said a word about it. Only now to you..it is absolutely a violation. These are grown men playing a brutal sport for a living and this whole story is about bullying..and harassment. Are you kidding. Martin is a grown man acting like a little kid because he got his feelings hurt..and everyone in the media is jumping in this. Football itself is about intimidation, physicality and imposing your will...but all of a sudden a player leaves the team because of bullying..give me a break.

Bill Cowher blames ultimately Phailbin and staff for not having an awareness or control of these personnel issues. If only he could come here and clean up this and the many other messes by management and coaching staff.

Not that I'm necessarily complaining but the refs are trying to blow this game for the Jets. If they end up losing and I were Rex Ryan I would go on a tirade against the men in stripes. 3 calls that may change the outcome and only one is legitimate.

Cowher is a douchebag...Cowher will never come back to the NFL cuz he's scared...

..DC..Awesome post..Well done.

Look guys we all been here for a while yes we may have changed our user names but the majority been here for a years now, we never encounter a story like this one, so IMO humble opinion there isn't much to comment about because none of us was in the locker room and don't know crap was is going on behind closed doors.
So speculating about what happen is just stupid conversation. Let's talk about the next game coming up that the PHINS may lose, why because Tampa hasn't won a game and this game is a ambush waiting to haspoen if this team comes out like the last five games..

And there's the game. Jets fans are going to go nuts this week. Can't count on the NFC to help us out. Rams down by 3 against Titans. Redskins up by 3 against Chargers.

Well, still don't expect Jets to do anything this year, if anything it hurts their draft stock which is fine with me

How many players in the NFL? How many decades, yes decades has stuff like this been going on? How many NFL players have quit on there team mates over this? I'm counting ONE. His name is Johnathen Martin. And after he quits and walks out, what does Johnathen Martin post on FaceBook?? Happy Hallowwen and he is with his family!!! While his team mates are trying to save their season. Thank God this "man" wasn't in the Military with others lives depending on him. The pussification of American men continues, bullying in the NFL. If Martin clocked Incognito in the head with the tray, he would have gotten respect. He now has no respect. No team will want him.
By the way, it is being reported Martin was participating in these same pranks a wek before he picked up his ball and went home. So he has no problem giving it but can't take it?? Goes to show his character. Go home and work for mommy and daddy.

DC I agree with DD.

I also say again…here's a team that is 4-4, lost 4 in a row, and this is what they are spending their time doing? They need to focus on football - and football alone. They obviously can't do anything else than that and be successful playing football.

Bye, bye Incognito…it's time for you to go.

Philbin absolutely put incognito in a leadership council position after jake long walked, I put this entire situation on Philbin and Martin not keeping it in house.
Big Jake commanded so much respect and my guess this would not have happened if he was still here.
I absolutely 100% believe Martin is also still here if his position isn't switched, what was it he said about being a team player or a problem, well he said one thing but his actions imply another. He still HAD a job at RT but he pulls this crap, the more I hear of this the more pissed off I get.

Disagree about that post being awesome...pretty lame if you ask me...4th grade??? Hahhahahah!!! C'mon man!!! Let's compare 8 year olds with grown arsed men...somebody should have kicked your arse for terrorizing some poor litle girl...nice share...
Also this whole...if its offensive to even just one person it can't be tolerated schtick...is BS...

Bobbyd12 are your friends hoodlums too, or do you have any friends. Notice over the years you seem to carry lots of hate and anger inside, and don't seem to have a compassionate bone in your entire body.

Sorry, mean no harm, but someone needs to make you aware of this.

Pretty sure they just won...


I agree in general but Martin participating in these pranks means nothing in my opinion. Personally, I think he did this to avoid ridicule. If he didn't participate imagine how much the team would have ripped on him. May have been even worse

Chiefs now 9-0. Pretty safe to say Sean Smith will be in the PLAYOFFS this year.

A joke.

Not one team helped our playoff chances in these 1pm games. And the majority of them should have won but didn't. Unfortunate, but makes for a more exciting second half

Yeah thats it everyone, blame Philbin cuz Martin IS A PUSS!!! The freaken guy has been a lightweight since he was drafted.... LOOK AT HOW MUCH BETTER THE O LINE PLAYED WITHOUT HIM THURSDAY "for ALL 4 Qtrs..... "

Brees not on the same level as Brady or Manning. Lost his two top weapons and he couldn't complete a pass after that.

How about how fixed these NFL games are. The NFL is now considered sports entertainment just like wwe. What a joke that is. Look into that as well!

It starts at the top. Ross hired Failbin who has zero personality and most likely zero compatibility with the players. They don't respect management or the organization.

I think what was done to Martin was wrong and all that happened will come out. However let's not lose site of the fact that Martin was and is not a very good OT. Left or right!
The team most likely would have moved on irrespective of this incident. Now my guess is Martin is better off with another team or out of football pursuing another career. I just hope that Jeff Ireland is also gone from power to make the final decisions on all the OL needed by this team. He has failed in miserable fashion to provide this team with the proper talent needed in the NFL. He's had long enough but he obviously does not have the proper skill set to project NFL talent.

Teamates bullying him? What could they have possibly said that would be worse than what fans say to and about this guy on a daily basis. We should investigate the fans in the stands because when Martin runs off the field they call him every name in the book. I guess everyone is guilty, poor guy.

Once again just a reminder, Jonathan Martin hasn't accused anyone of bullying. No one has been accused of a supposed violation. Why exactly is this a story right now?

Shouldn't they wait for the facts to come in before passing judgement in this situation? At least wait for an accusation of wrong doing?

This franchise is a MESS!

Ross/Ireland/Philbin screwing things up? Shocking ...LOL

Hey Jack, you MORON. That's the point. I was in FOURTH GRADE. These guys are supposed to be professionals. I guess a LOSER like you is fine with a member of the WORST OL IN DOLPHINS HISTORY playing pranks instead of trying to fix the problems. I guess you're fine with Incognito watching as a Bengals defender BLEW right by him and sacked the QB. Maybe you need to get your head out of your as* and understand what's happening, whether you think it's relevant or not, IS NOT HELPING THIS TEAM win!

And to Henry, in case you haven't seen, this OL SUCKS. And they need as much help as they can get. JMart wasn't demoted, Clabo was. JMart was a team player and switched positions because the coaches thought that was best for the team. So to demean JMart is the height of stupidity on your part. Guess you and Jack the IDIOT like mediocrity!

The bullying is inexcusable but the coverup is a crime.

jets either dam good or awful each week

No, I have NO compassion for Johnathen Martin. NONE. It's bad enough the NFL is trying to turn this into touch football, now you have a 6:5 315 pd guy crying about being "bullied"
I guess this is the new American cause, I was "bullied". The guy quit on his team mates.
I guess Sam I Am you would have no problems having this guy next to you in battle or in a shoot out or when you need him the most he runs. Personally I would rather have someone who is a MAN and I can trust instead of someone who would run and hide. I don't worry about people's "feelings", I worry about going home alive every day. Martin quit, I have no respect for him or his feelings. Especially since THOUSANDS of football players have had this happen to them for DECADES without crying.

At the very least Philbin and Incognito should be fired.

Two perfect examples, KC Chief runs by the Buffalo QB and their legs tangle, personal foul, roughing the QB????
Now Washington game, Saint gets 15 yarder for making a tackle after guy catches the football??? Even the announcers are like how weak.
Scott Lemire is right, looks like WWE and games are Pre determined. Just look at the calls against us in the Pats game. Disgusting

Phins, the report is he is afraid of RETRIBUTION when he returns. And who blames him, Philbin is acting like "there's nothing to see here." Incognito hasn't been publicly reprimanded so how should Martin react? He reads what people are saying. He's got pride. It's not easy to be a 300+ lb guy and say you are sensitive and/or being bullied. Maybe if Philbin was true to his continued insistence that he was a "stand-up" guy and stopped listening to Dawn Aponte this story would go away. Until then, yeah, I blame this on the coaching staff. If we were 6-2, this isn't a story. But we're worse than the JETS, .500 two years running, and you want me to give the HC the benefit of the doubt? Please!

Philbin and Incognito need to be punished, not J Martin.

Philbin is a JACKASS HC!


Bobby, I actually agree with you. I don't want a "softie" like Martin being an OL on my team. But again, you have to blame the team for that. Ireland drafted that "softie." And that was one knock against the kid. So, you blame Martin but not Ireland, who drafted him? And what about Philbin. His team is playing UNDER their potential. There's enough talent on this team to be in 1st place in the division. But they're letting this crap go on under their noses? ESPECIALLY after Philbin let GOOD PLAYERS go (Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby) because they didn't fit his mold of what the locker room should look like. But Incognito, 1/5 of the WORST LINE IN DOLPHINS HISTORY, a KNOWN DIRTY PLAYER, journeyman, is somehow an asset to the team? And McKinnie the strip-club President comes in and is thinking, "you guys have a problem with MY CHARACTER?" Give me a break. That's why I'm not for this "character" stuff in the first place. Because ALL THESE GUYS have issues. This is football. You put together a team that can WIN FOOTBALL GAMES, not run a monastery. But Philbin did this to himself. He's the one harping on this crap. Now let him live with the consequences of his stupidity.

If they can prove Martin has participated in bullying or practical jokes himself, then his legal team don't really have a leg to stand on. If Martin never complained to Philbin regarding bullying, hten he also doesn't have much amo to launch against the Dolphins.

Im sure the door will be open to him over the rest of the season.

This thing may well draw the team together. Adversity can do that sometimes. Philbins reputation is on the line. I don't have that much faith in him personally.

On the field when the refs screw us he rarely lights then up. Philbin rarely challenges refs calls. Is this enough to judge him on ? Yeah I think so.

Da Jets are in da playoffs 5-4 and 2-1 in division. WOW!

DC resorting to name calling right out the gates...you sir should have learned a lesson from your 8 year old self...stop bullying me or I will report you to the Herald...

We still have the chance to sweep the Jets and stop that playoff place.

Just fire the whole staff , they are the ones in charge of this mess . start over with a hard nosed coach who will run this team the old fashion way ,,,,,,,,Gruden or Cowher come to the top of the list ,,,,,,keep the players and fire the organization

Ghey eh?

C, mon Cogz is Fugly, no female would sleep with him, only a qweer eh?

In fact...the Herald will have me on auto-delete by the weeks end...cuz I'm reporting every word of bullying I see going on around here...take a stand right???


This will be fun...

Hey Cogz, how does it feel to be bullied you flaming arshole eh
even on the internet you scumbag eh?

The witch hunt rages on. The Phins have released a statement essentially asking the NFL to intervene and conduct a thorough and objective review.

15 gs in Vegas eh?
you see, cogz wanted Martin to pay for sex in Vegas and Martin was the sex ex, eh?

The real question is..."Who doesn't wanna go to Vegas?!"

another wasted pick,...


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