Philbin: Dolphins to comply with NFL review of Martin-Incognito case
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin met with the media Monday, a week after tackle Jonathan Martin left the team amid reports that he had been bullied by teammate Richie Incognito.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin met with the media Monday, a week after tackle Jonathan Martin left the team amid reports that he had been bullied by teammate Richie Incognito, and a day after the coach suspended Incognito indefinitely.
During the press conference, Philbin laid out the timeline of events of the last seven days, explained why the team waited until Sunday to suspend Incognito, and said that he wouldn't answer any questions about exactly what happened until the NFL's investigation into the matter concludes.
Below are excerpts from the press conference.
"Last Monday evening, Jonathan Martin left our facility ... after an incident occurred in our team dining room," Philbin said. "Later that evening he contacted a member of our organization. Soon thereafter, I contacted Jonathan personally, requested a meeting with him, which he readily accepted. I met with him later that evening, we had a good discussion. Throughout the course of the week, I was in contact on multiple occasions with him and members of his family. ...
"Early on Sunday, we released a statement that was 100 percent factual. Soon thereafter, we were contacted by representatives with Jonathan -- before I say that I should let you know: In all my discussions with Jonathan and members of his family, at no time were there any accusations or allegations of misconduct by any members of this team or this organization.
"Later on Sunday, we were contacted by one of his representatives. They in fact had some concerns over player conduct that occurred. We immediately took those concerns very, very seriously. Our owner, Stephen Ross, who had been involved throughout the entire process, contacted the commissioner, Roger Goodell, and requested that the NFL become involved and conduct a review of the workplace.
"We issued a second statement noting that we have received information that we were taking very seriously. ... Throughout the course of the day we gathered more and more information. At the end of the day, I decided to suspend Richie Incognito based on the information I had at that time.
"The NFL is going to conduct a review of the workplace. It's going to be comprehensive, it's going to be objective, and we're going to give our full and complete cooperation with the NFL. That's really where things are as of today.
"I want you to know that as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, I am in charge of the workplace atmosphere. Since April 10, 2012 when the players first came here and I was the head coach, every decision I've made and everything we've done to this facility has been done with one thing in mind. And that is to help our players and our organization reach their full potential. And any type of conduct or behavior that detracts from that objective is not acceptable and is not tolerated. ...
"I take this responsibility very seriously. That these players, when they walk into these doors, feel like they have the best medical care, the best strength-and-conditioning care, the best coaching, the best fields to practice on, the best technology, the best classrooms to learn in. That's very important to me. I will tell you that if the [NFL's] 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."
Philbin, when asked if he has spoken to Incognito:
"Any conversations that I have with any player on this football team are personal and confidential in nature."
Did Philbin have any idea, before last Monday, that this situation was becoming serious?
"That falls under what the NFL review is here for. .. I want to make clear, my focus right now is preparing the men in the locker room to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will give my full and complete and total cooperation with the NFL. When that takes place, I don't have the timeline on that. ... What I'd like to make sure everybody understands is that there are not going to be comments during the course of this investigation until we get all the information and come together on that information."
Philbin was asked if he thought Incognito's behavior in the team's appearance on Hard Knocks during the 2012 preseason was a sign that he might be a bully:
"I never saw [the show]. ... I was working at that time."
Philbin on why Incoginto was a member of the team's leadership council:
"The leadership council is selected by the players. I have a lot of confidence in our players. I have a lot of confidence in our locker room, the character of the men we have in the locker room. And he was selected by his teammates."
Philbin was asked about Incognito's voicemail to Martin, which includes racial slurs, but the coach would only say "that falls under the review of the NFL."
Finally, the coach was asked if the last four days have been miserable.
"Absolutely not," he said. "It's a privilege to serve as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. I feel fortunate every single day I come to work. I work with a great group of men."
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