Incognito's lawyer: Text exchanges show 'banter, not bullying'
Richie Incognito's team revealed a series of text message exchanges between the former teammates.
The vulgar and inappropriate text messages and comments that Jonathan Martin apparently received from Richie Incognito were just as bad as the ones Martin was allegedly sending to his fellow offensive lineman, Incognito’s attorney said on Thursday.
“The coarse and unacceptable comments that were sent to Jonathan Martin were of the same poor taste as those sent by him,” Incognito’s attorney Mark Schamel said. “All of these communications were provided to Ted Wells and the NFL investigation. What they show is banter between friends, not bullying.”
CBS Miami obtained 40 pages of text message exchanges between the former teammates and said that both sides appeared to crack inappropriate jokes at each other.
One such exchange from Martin to Incognito reportedly read: “Ima egg your house and light a bag of s--- on fire then ring your doorbell.”
Incognito apparently responded: “I’m going to shoot you and claim self defense. I’m white ur black I’ll walk.”
CBS Miami reported that similar exchanges continued the very next day. Interestingly, after Martin left the team in October, exchanges show that Incognito reached out to Martin numerous times to see if he was okay.
At one point Incognito texted Martin, “It’s unbelievable all the attention this is getting. All that’s important is that you feel better and know we miss u dude.”
Martin responded: “Yeah I’m good man. It’s insane bro but just know I don’t blame you guys at all. It’s just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little. BTW … never check yourself into a mental hospital.”
According to Schamel, some of the more vulgar text messages Martin allegedly sent to Incognito included “threats to send someone over to Richie Incognito’s home with a ‘tranquilizer gun and sandpaper condoms’ to homosexually rape him.” Schamel also alleges Martin threatened to kill Incognito’s family.
Incognito’s council claims Martin was “hiding behind false [bullying] allegations” as an excuse for his poor play.
Schamel also stated that Martin disclosed to Incognito how he felt his job was at risk as his play faltered. He told Incognito, “how upset he was at being ranked by Pro Football Focus as among the worst linemen in the NFL, about his poor performance on the field and his demotion to right tackle.”
Incognito’s lawyer’s response comes just one day after Martin made his first public comments since leaving the team. Martin told NBC that he “felt trapped" by the football culture.
The NFL ordered Ted Wells to investigate the matter, and his findings are expected to be announced not long after the Super Bowl.
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