Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team in late October after several instances of alleged bullying by teammate Richie Incognito, said in his first extensive interview that he felt "trapped" and that it was best for everyone that he step away from the team.
"I'm a grown man. I've been in locker rooms," Martin told NBC commentator Tony Dungy, the former coach of the Colts and Buccaneers. The interview aired on "Today" Wednesday morning. "One incident doesn't bother me. It was the persistence. I felt trapped, like I didn't have a way to make it right. I thought it was best to remove myself from the situation.
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"There was persistent comments of a racial nature, aggressive sexual comments related to my sister and my mother. I've spoken to my former teammates in other locker rooms across the NFL and I asked them, 'Does this stuff go on? Is this normal rookie hazing?' The consensus was this is not normal."
Martin also said he was not the only Dolphins player who was victimized by hazing.
"There are other people that got it, too," Martin said. "I can't say why I may have gotten more."
Martin, 24, said he wants to return to the NFL, although team owner Stephen Ross said on Tuesday during a news conference introducing new general manager Dennis Hickey that he doubted either Martin or Incognito would be on the team in 2014. Ross then backtracked, saying he couldn't be certain whether either player would return.
The NFL launched an investigation into the matter, hiring prominent New York-based attorney Ted Wells, who has conducted extensive interviews with Martin and Incognito, who was suspended by the Dolphins and did not return to the team for the remainder of the season. Wells also interviewed Dolphins players, coaches and executives. He has not issued his report, but plans to make it public when he hands it over to the league.
"I have no problem with the normal hazing that you see in the NFL, get a haircut, stuff like that, little pranks," Martin said. "But of a personal, attacking nature, I don't think there's any place for that."
Ross said he hasn't seen the report, but has "an idea what will be in it," he said. "I don't know exactly what [Wells'] conclusion is. When it comes out, we'll do what has to be done. In my mind, I know what direction we're going . . . The respect that we gained by how we handled the situation that took place here says a lot about this organization and the people that are running it."