Miami Dolphins' Incognito Suspended in 'Bullying' Investigation - Tarnished Twenty
Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Miami Dolphins' Incognito Suspended in 'Bullying' Investigation

Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was suspended Sunday after allegations surfaced that he was bullying offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.

According to the Miami Herald, Incognito allegedly sent teammate Martin "racially charged texts" and was suspended while both the Dolphins and the NFL look into the matter.

Bullying is no joke to the NFL, which may mean this could be it for Incognito's career with the Dolphins.

Incognito Benched Over Bullying Allegations

The Herald reports that the Dolphins announced the suspension on Sunday night, citing "conduct detrimental to the team" and contrary to the "culture of respect" that the team maintains.

Typically you hear bullying mentioned in the high school context. New Jersey schools, for example, have even gone so far as to ban "trash talk" in high school sports.

But this case is in the National Football League, and the NFL has made itself very clear that it does not tolerate discrimination or harassment from players and coaches.

In this instance, Incognito's suspension was over a series of bigoted text messages allegedly sent to Martin, with one calling the bi-racial player a "half-n-----," reports the Herald.

Unnamed sources with the Dolphins have attributed this abuse to a practice of pressuring younger players like Martin to pay for veteran players' social outings, like a $15,000 "unofficial team vacation to Vegas."

Suspension and Process

With Incognito suspended for the duration of the investigation, a ranking club source told the Herald that "there are procedures in place" to keep things fair.

Like A-Rod's suspension by the MLB, Incognito's contract likely entitles him to some sort of mediation process with both the Dolphins and the NFL over the terms of his suspension.

Depending on the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL Players Association and the League, Incognito may have the opportunity to appeal his suspension based on the outcome of the bullying investigation.

For now, the Herald reports that Incognito has already been replaced by starting left guard Nate Garner.

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