As expected, Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended indefinitely earlier this month for conduct detrimental to the team, filed a grievance against the Dolphins to recover his lost weekly salary of $235,294.12.
In that grievance, Incognito's legal team takes aim at Jonathan Martin, who left the team last month amid allegations that Incognito bullied him, and Martin's attorney, David Cornwell, reports NFL.com's Albert Breer.
"If any conduct has been detrimental to the team, it is the manner in which Mr. Martin's representatives, including Mr. (David) Cornwell on behalf of his client, have elected to vilify Mr. Incognito and the entire Dolphins organization in the court of public opinion," the grievance began.
Incognito also asked the neutral arbitrator, Jonathan Marks, for an expedited hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday in South Florida.
Last Friday, Martin met for eight hours with Ted Wells, who was appointed by the NFL to investigate the Dolphins locker room culture, but the players' union was excluded from that meeting.
When apprised of the contents of Incognito's grievance, Cornwell issued this statement:
"Jonathan and his family decided that it was in Jonathan's best interest to be represented by an independent counsel of his choice. As Jonathan said yesterday, his discussion with Ted Wells was frank and detailed. I was concerned that Jonathan's ability to be frank and detailed would be compromised if there were too many people in the room. We made it clear that our decisions in no way -- in intent or effect -- interfere with the NFLPA discharging its important duties as the exclusive bargaining representative of all players."
Incognito's grievance also claims:
- That the suspension came without proper warning and that the team "failed to properly advise or warn Mr. Incognito that joking behavior amongst teammates or the use of vulgar or profane language amongst teammates, whether in-season or during the offseason, could subject him to disciplinary action." Also, because there was no investigation by the team before the suspension, the "immediate imposition of the harshest discipline available under the CBA was disproportional and unjustified."
- That the club "has not and cannot identify any detriment to the club caused by Mr. Incognito."
- And that "the only detriment to the club arising out of this incident is the harm resulting from the media strategy employed by Mr. Cornwell and Mr. Martin's other representatives. ... Had Mr. Martin and Mr. Cornwell approached this complaint as a professional employment complaint rather than a media blitz, the club could have carried out an orderly, impartial investigation and determined that Mr. Martin's mental health issues are unrelated to Mr. Incognito or any other member of the Dolphins organization."
Breer reports that Incognito's grievance could be heard in early December, at which point the Dolphins could either have to reinstate him or release him. Martin, meanwhile, is still on the Dolphins' 53-man roster.