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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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Philbin has lost his team. This whole organization sucks. These veteran players taking advantage of rookies as if they were all that. Mediocre quality players if at that. Martin should just come back and kick Incognito's ass like opposing D-line men do in games. I hope next year we get a new GM, and a new complete O-line.

Did he show him his penis

Did he expose his johnson

DC, oh I do blame Philbin. I blame him because this was an in house issue that should have NEVER gotten this far. How did Philbin not get this thing fixed beforehand? I gonna have a little more leeway with Ireland. Martin may have given all the right answers and not showed this was a potential problem.
You know, I praised and defended Martin here, a lot. The guy got stronger over the off season and put in the work. I believed he would hold his own at left tackle. I took a lot of heat defending him, so there is no way I can be accused of being a Martin hater. I think what he did here is "unforgivable" from a NFL player standpoint. This franchise struggles through enough without a player quitting and blaming his team mates. Especially when it looks like he was guilty of some of these same pranks just a week ago!!

Philbin has no control over the team.

The Ross ownership is just one embarrassment after another.

Hey, nobody knows Martin's state of mind. Perhaps he just got finished watching a "Roots" marathon on Lifetime.

Maybe he confused "The Color Purple" with the color pink.

I hope next year we get a new GM, and a new complete O-line.

Posted by: tiredfinfan | November 03, 2013 at 05:23 PM

Hopefully at least Incognito and Philbin will be gone.

Yeah Philbin has lost the locker room. Here are the top ten reasons I have

1. Never answers questions directly
2. Lies constantly regarding play calls, the spike !!!
3. Never challenges refs calls at key moments.
4. Always uses idiot cards whe addressing his team
5. Can't control players, Starks bird to him
6. Couldn't sort out RI and let the Martin situation slide.
7. Rarely ever blames himself for terrible coaching.
8. Gets the team fired up for games.
9. Has not established a group of leaders from the vets
10. Can't edit the awful play calling of Sherman.

He has lost the team.

Don't look now but Tampa Bay is destroying the Seahawks in Seattle. Most of us were putting down a W for next week against the Bucs. That game is not going to be as easy as we thought.

Philbin is Cameron 2.0

I cant believe this guy started on the o-line for year and half.....no wonder they sucked. Should of kept in in house.

Thats right. I remember all that Fail Forward Fast Bull.

How can players respect or trust a BS artist like Philbin.

He is still learning to be a coach in this league. If he is smart he will make some changes whilst he still has a job.

So Philbin allows Martin to be bullied for 2 years and then says "Bullying will not ne tolerated" lol

I would not say Philbin has lost the team yet. The Dolphins just beat a Superbowl contender (Bengals) and the team seemed to be playing hard for Philbin. Sherman did finally adjust and went more to a power running game which is what this line is built for.

I think the media has taken this whole story out of proportion. I bet this type of hazing and pranks happen in every locker room. Teams usually keep this stuff in house and it is the football culture. It is a shame that Martin has brought this stuff out into the open to enable these idiots in the media to sensationalize this non story. I hope Martin never comes back to this team.

Well, Martin's agents,lawyers, and the NFL players union are making a THOROUGH investigation so the TRUTH WILL COME OUT. Fines and suspensions coming. Incognito and Philbin in BIG TROUBLE.

I hope Incognito and Ireland and Philbin are fired and Martin returns to the team. Justice enforced.

Martin will never play in the NFL again. For a guy that went to Stanford, he's pretty stupid.

Man RI is pretty much a goner in this whole thing. The Dolphins front office are sh1tting in their pants right now.

Philbin and Ireland have done so much to clean up the image of the Dolphins, 'in their eyes', getting rid of players they thought were trouble.

1. Brandon Marshall
2. Vontae Davis
3. Sean Smith
4. Davone Bess
5. Reggie bush.

These guys at one point spoke out against Philbin. All of these are good players we could use right now. Philbin couldn't control them, he felt "Queasey" ???

What a joke. The reality is he couldn't deal with them, through a complete lack of people skills or confidence.

Please go home Joe.

Martin will return but Incognito's a goner and Philbin too.

Incognito should be banned from the NFL and Philbin a 1 yr ban.

Philbin will get a 1 yr ban like the Saints coach did.

I don't agree at all that Philbin has lost control. It's sad day but let's see what happens now that the NFL has been asked to investigate.

Funniest post of the day. Philbin ordered the code red.

Martin will never play in the NFL again. For a guy that went to Stanford, he's pretty stupid.

Posted by: Tee M. | November 03, 2013 at 06:10 PM

He will absolutely play. He is the victim. And he wont miss a dime of salary either.

Wow Nick Foles has thrown 7TD passes.

...I think this is going to take a turn similar to "Bounty Gate"..

From what I have read..The league is looking into practice of Dolphin vets forcing rookies, or younger player into paying for trips, dinners etc. Now we all know this happens on every team. In fact a good friend of mine who played with Incognito in St. Louis toldme a story of his rookie year, and the price tag of the dinner he had to ante up for the offensive lineman..Anyway the point is it happens everywhere.

Same with the bounty stuff. This happened on every NFL team in the league. Maybe not to the extent the Saints took it, and never was it caught on tape. But here we have very similar stories. With these rookies pay initiations(I don't know what to call them) it is against the code of conduct. Everyone turned a blind eye until there is a slip up. This is the slip up. Blame Martin, Blame Philbin, Blame Chad Henne...Whatever. The league is going to do whatever it takes to "protect the shield"..

You don't have to like it. Don't watch if this upsets you. If you think it is petty. The league is going to do whatever it thinks is right to protect its brand. Bullying is a huge no-no in todays society. You can't have the image that this goes on(even though every team is guilty) and it is ok.

The tema, the franchise, and perhaps this Fo may pay the price, or be made examples of. No different then the Saints really.

Just fine Philbin and Incognito $100,000 each and give the money to Martin. Bullying over.

Agreed Vegas.

Dolphins will cut RI and allow Martin back into the tea. Ross will want to lead the way to stamp out bullying in the NFL.

Its the only way to have a bit of positive recovery here.

Personally I can't stand RI, not a role model for the Dolphins, classless and thick.

The way it looks they are talking about another Sandusky case….oh

bobby, totally agree with you. I too defended Martin. But if he was that distraught he should have gone to Philbin (then again, Philbin hasn't shown himself to be a "players coach.").

But it's these nitwits who are saying this is much ado about nothing that are making me sick. What do you have to say now Phins? Martin confirmed the reports. Now you can't stand behind your b.s. argument that it's "not confirmed." I thought more of you dude, usually you're pretty "high-minded." Now all of a sudden you're ok with a player being mistreated. Guess fans should just accept that too and go to the games. All the while they're stuck on mediocrity while the Jets and Pats (and Panthers and Seattle and Cincinnati, etc.) roll right by us year after year, making Playoffs, improving, doing more with less. Us, nope, we stay at .500. But let's turn a blind eye to the crap going on in the locker room. Yeah, that's sportsmanship. That's how to make this crap product better. Phins, next time you go on a "better-than-thou" rant, save it, just like Philbin you've diminished yourself by accepting a Parcells-disciple's FACE-SAVING LIE!

This is so embarrassing. I can't believe this "leftist" bleeding-heart mentality! It's not bad enough we have a defense that can't tackle and end up getting dragged for 20 yds after the catch by a little receiver, but now this? And this (once again...BS article) about workplace policies!! ROFL! This team/paper has sunk to a new low! Listen, this guy (Martin) is an offensive lineman in the NFL-even if the Dolphins line can't truly make that claim. In any event, Johnnie is a big boy and can tell his teammates to GTFO of his face at anytime. If he can't do that, than he needs to be replaced by someone mean enough to do that very thing. We don't need a donut on the line. This team is already 2 draft yrs behind where they were at the beginning of this season now that the "line" has been exposed for what it is. Rookies are still men, and, after so much crap they should all be able to say F. O.! If they can't.....lol.

You will see surprising things, Sancho!


Martin will probably play somewhere but his chances of success are not good. He is now going to be seen as a traitor and not trust worthy. He will be excluded by teammates in the locker room. He will be seen as an odd ball.

If its, this is very uggly and Joe Pat, sory Philbin will be fire and possibly never hire in the NFL.

Ross, Ireland, Philbin , and Icognito are chiting in their pants right now and deservedly so. They're all incompetent jackasses.

....Orlando..Kind of sounds like how he was treated here.

Players will go out of their way to be especially nice to Martin when he returns. They realize bullying is bad.

This type of stuff happens on every team. The difference is that you usually don't have a soft head case like Martin complaining. You hear story about rookies having to carry the pads of the veterans, paying for meals, etc. on every team. This is a game played by tough men. If the situation was so bad, how come no other player has had a nervous breakdown like Martin or complained about being mistreated? This is on Martin. Martin is the one that is soft and has mental problems.

BSO is getting involved by tomorrow if sexual miscunduct is involved here. This way too soft for just a bulling problem, bulling is for girls, the are using FANS the term MISCONDUCT. It is serious.

I don't see Martin ever coming back to play for us and playing in this league is questionable at best. Here's the question...Will Martin be viewed as a quitter or a rat?

I thought I read Martin has been placed on the non football injury list which means he is not getting paid.

Sure it happens on all teams, doesn't make it right though.

The Dolphins and Philbins problem is they couldn't contain it in-house.

Also the line coach is an ex-marine. I see images of Full Metal Jacket.

Ironically Martin looks a bit like, Gomer Pyle.

In todays NFL image is everything.

The way you handle a guy like Incognito is kick his a**, plain and simple. Guys like him only respond to violence. Now, because Martin is so soft, he wasn't going to do it. But ironically, it is the fact that he is soft which encouraged the bullying. That's the way it works. Martin is done in Miami, having betrayed the trust of his teammates (such matters have to be handled in-house) and more importantly, having played very bad football. Incognito probably wouldn't be resigned, anyway. The organization is indeed in disarray. And it starts with the fact that an accountant is now telling the head coach how to conduct his day-to-day business.

Martin will get paid every penny. And return to the team after some suspensions.

..Marco..That is why I think this may get bad for the team..I don't want to get ahead of myself because I do not know the facts. But bounty gate started out as nothing, once the facts came out...It blew up. This has the same feel to it.

Philbins in deep doo doo

Tony Sparano would've never allowed this to go on.

BTW- If Martin is ill, I do not hold that against him. I just hate how this has been taken out of proportion by the media and hate to see the league make an example out of the dolphins. C'mon this is football not tennis.

...Orlando..I am making this a comparison to bounty gate..That was a football issue that happened everywhere. Why is this any different?

It could well be bigger Darryl...

YOU people dont know how to read in between the lines, bulling or heasing in nothing compare to sexual misconduct…read / read idiots, is more serious than what they are letting know…something vety serrious of a sexual nature happen.

...Marco..I agree. Again. We don't know the whole story. We may never. And this could end up being a whole lot about nothing. Martin could have just freeked out for all we know. But I think there are layers to this story that will be uncovered that may be a bit disturbing..I hope not. I hope I am wrong. I said this last night. It doesn't add up to me that a player would leave just because he was being called a name...

Darryl Dunphy: Exactly. This story is long way from over. Similar to Bounty-gate the Ginger Hammer will come down. There will be a fall guy or three and it won't be Martin.

Fortunately, Philbin isn't Sean Payton and Incognito isn't much better than Nate Freaking Garner. Neither are a big loss. Maybe a net positive. I'd also like to see Ireland and/orDawn Aponte get dumped too - but one may survive.

Meanwhile, fans and observers will bang their heads against the wall daily about the media and bullying 'bs' and facts and rumor: IT DOESN'T MATTER. The story has a LIFE OF ITS OWN. NFL, INC. WILL ACT. DECISIVELY.

Martin is being put on the Non Football Injury List. If some of you are confused, that means he WILL NOT be paid. PERIOD. He will also be a cancer in any locker room from this point forward. I will guarantee there will not be many players who would want him to be in their locker room. Who wants to walk on egg shells around a team mate? NO ONE. GM's will make exceptions for talented players who make big plays. Martin is a lineman with average talent.
The best thing for the Dolphins to do is issue an apology then say it will be best for Martin if they release him from the team so he can "deal with his issues" Make a settlement with him and move on. His career is over.

Armando's report 2 weeks ago of Brady's demise were far to premature.

Against Pittsburgh, he's now:

21-30 343 yds 3 tds and 0 ints

Pats 34 Steelers 24

Well, Armando, seems like VINTAGE Tom Brady to the rest of the world.

Well it's looking like both Incognito and Martin will not be with the Miami Dolphins next season. We know Clabo looked old this season and McKinnie has played well but he will be 35 next season. So the Dolphins will be seeking 2 OT's and 2 OG's. Does anyone really think that Jeff Ireland after all his efforts for many years now will be capable of providing NFL talent on the OL for the Dolphins. Let's not overlook that Martin is not a very good Offensive Lineman and was drafted by Ireland.

Anybody wondering, Why, My God, Why Us?

Case in point #1: Bobbyd12.

This is WAY beyond the Dolphin's control now. Apology is too late and too little. Heads will role.

Orlando..I am making this a comparison to bounty gate..That was a football issue that happened everywhere. Why is this any different?

That is an interesting comparison and I would not be surprised if Godell makes an example out of the fins like he did with the Saints. Bounty gate was a bunch of crap too. Football has changed so much. One of the things that made football the best sport in this country is that it is a sport played by gladiators. Big hits, blood, tough men, the frozen tundra, dooms day defense, the steel curtain, Lyle Alzado, Randy White, Mean Joe Green, that was football. Now days we are worried about bullying? A 315 pound man goes crying to his mommy saying, I have been bullied, I don't want to go back. It is unbelievable what is happening in this sport.

Chris, there is 1696 players in the NFL. ONE guy makes accusations, which I bet no one will confirm ever happened, and you believe a hammer will come down?? In 2 weeks this will be a non story and will fade away, just like Martin.

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