Jonathan Martin briefly checked into a hospital in the Miami area before fleeing to his parents’ home in California and also considered quitting the Miami Dolphins due to emotional distress, according to sources who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The Martin case has captured the nation’s attention with the word this week that teammate Richie Incognito verbally abused the second-year player, including using racist remarks in voice and text messages. Martin left the team saying he was bullied and told several people that he was considering quitting football.
One source told AP that Martin said he considered giving up his career because he was mistreated by other offensive linemen. Martin, 24, sought counseling for emotional issues and now plans to continue playing, the source said.
Meanwhile, Martin’s Miami Dolphins teammates backed Incognito, who has been suspended, and expressed surprise at Martin’s actions.
”I don’t know why he’s doing this,” offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said. ”And the only person who knows why, his name is Jonathan Martin.”
”The whole thing, it’s kind of mind-blowing to me,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. ”It’s kind of mind-blowing to most of the guys on our team right now.”
Last week, Martin’s agent said the second-year player from Stanford was harassed almost daily by teammates in his rookie year and the hazing continued into this season. That prompted an NFL investigation, and the Dolphins suspended Incognito, who sources said sent Martin threatening and racist messages during the offseason.
Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed a New York lawyer with experience in sports cases to investigate. More than 100 reporters and cameramen were at the Dolphins’ complex Wednesday.
“It’s tough for me because you can’t help a situation that you didn’t know existed–that no one on this team knew existed,” Tannehill said.
“We have a bunch of good guys in this locker room. To be put in a situation where everyone’s attacking the locker room saying it’s such a bad place, such a bad culture, no leadership to stand up and stop the situation – no one knew there was a situation to be stopped.”
Tannehill added: ”If you had asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito. The first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan.”