Players found on all sides in Dolphins' harassment case

Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:23pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - From NFL clubhouses to office water coolers, the case of alleged bullying, harassment and workplace abuse involving two Miami Dolphins players has generated a major buzz in America's most popular sport.

Miami's 23-year-old tackle Jonathan Martin left the team last week on a leave of absence, emotionally distraught by his treatment, and linemate Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins.

The National Football League has launched what it promised to be a comprehensive probe into the affair, which has shone a light on the hazing of young players, and Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he welcomed the investigation.

In the Dolphins' case, the hazing turned extreme, rising from doing the menial bidding of veterans, to paying for expensive dinners and subsidizing expensive trips, to being subjected to racially charged, threatening messages sent via text and voice mail.

Facing a dispute between two players, the NFL Players Association issued a guarded statement.

"We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all players...

"As the representative organization of all players, the NFLPA will insist on a fair investigation for all involved."

Players spoke out on all sides of the issue.   Continued...