November 4, 2013 / 3:28 PM / 4 years ago

Miami coach welcomes NFL review of team's workplace

MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said on Monday he welcomes the NFL’s review of the team’s workplace following the ban of starting lineman Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.

Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) tries to stop New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (top R) from sacking Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne in the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The Dolphins suspended Incognito on Sunday night, hours after the National Football League team said they were looking into bullying and abuse allegations made by Miami offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.

”The NFL is going to conduct a review of the workplace,“ Philbin told a news conference at the Dolphins’ training facility. ”It’s going to be comprehensive, it’s going to be objective.

“As an organization we are going to give our full and complete cooperation with the NFL.”

Martin, who was a second-round draft choice in 2012 out of Stanford University, left the team last week on a leave of absence. The 23-year-old had started every game of his rookie season and seven games this year.

Philbin said Martin did not inform him of problems with his teammates at the time, but that representatives of his notified him later about repeated harassment and that after gathering more information the decision was made to suspend Incognito.

Neither the Dolphins nor Philbin would elaborate on the allegations against Incognito.

On Twitter, Incognito denied wrongdoing and demanded that his name be cleared.

The incident shines a light on rookie hazing that has long been a widespread practice in the league, though not generally known to have been taken to extremes.

ESPN reported Sunday that Incognito convinced Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas, even though Martin did not go on the trip.

Other instances of intimidation and racial epithets were captured on voicemails and texts, according to media reports.

”As the head coach of the Miami Dolphins I‘m in charge of the workplace atmosphere,“ Philbin said, adding that his aim has been ”to help our players and our organization reach their full potential.

”Any type of conduct or behavior that detracts from that objective is not acceptable. It’s not tolerated.

“If the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere, I will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that it is. I have that obligation to the players that I coach on a daily basis and I will do that.”

Reporting by Jane Sutton; Additional reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Frank Pingue

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