Jonathan Martin said he felt trapped by racial and personal bullying by his Miami Dolphins teammates in his first interview since he left the club on Oct. 28.
In an interview with NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy that aired in full on NBCSN's "ProFootballTalk" on Wednesday, the 24-year-old tackle says he felt it was best to "just remove myself from the situation."
"One instance doesn't bother me," Martin said in the interview, excerpts of which aired on "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday night and on "TODAY" on Wednesday morning. "It's the persistence of it. I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation ... but I didn't."
Martin's says the alleged harassment came at the hands of teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended on Nov. 3 and has not played since. Incognito has said he was friends with Martin, and other Dolphins teammates have denied Martin was mistreated. Incognito admitted that he called Martin a racial epithet, but he said it was used playfully and between friends. An independent investigator was assigned to the case by the NFL.
"I'm not a racist," Incognito said to FOX Sports in November. "And to judge me by that one word is wrong. In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it’s friend to friend on a voicemail. I regret that."
Dungy, who retired from the NFL in 2009, said he didn't see Martin as any different than the players he coached. He said the alleged abuse Martin faced was worse than anything he has seen in the NFL.
"I listened to some of the voicemails and saw the text messages," said Dungy, who was brought in as an adviser to the Dolphins after the Martin incident. "It was, as he said, racial, personal, attacking his family. It was a tough, tough situation. I couldn’t picture anything like this going on in the locker rooms that I was involved in."
Martin says the alleged treatment he faced was a product of the team's culture.
"There were other people who got it, too," he told Dungy. "I can't say why I may have gotten more. I have no problem with the normal hazing you see in the NFL -- you get a haircut, stuff like that, little pranks. But of a personal, attacking nature, I don't think there's any place for that."
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross confirmed that the report compiled by NFL investigator Ted Wells on the accusations of harassment leveled by Martin against Incognito will be released after the Super Bowl, and Ross said the team has a good handle on what the report will detail.
“I have an idea what will be in it. I’ve been in communication with the NFL. I’ve spoken with Ted Wells who is handling the investigation,” Ross said, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.