MIAMI (Reuters) – The Miami Dolphins said they have indefinitely suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
The suspension was announced on Sunday night, hours after the Dolphins said they and the National Football League (NFL) were investigating bullying and abuse allegations made by offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.
“We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time,” the Dolphins said in announcing Incognito’s suspension.
The NFL said in a statement: “We have been in contact with the team on this matter since last week and will conduct a thorough review.”
Earlier on Sunday, the Dolphins said they had received notifications from Martin’s representative alleging that he had been repeatedly harassed by teammates.
“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” the Dolphins said.
Martin, who was a second-round draft choice in 2012 out of Stanford University, left the team last week on a leave of absence. The 23-year-old had started every game of his rookie season and seven games this year.
The Dolphins said coach Joe Philbin and several teammates had been in touch with him and that, “Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being.”
The Dolphins did not elaborate on the allegations against Incognito. On Twitter, Incognito denied wrongdoing and demanded that his name be cleared.
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) November 3, 2013
The incident shines a light on rookie hazing that has long been a widespread practice in the league, though not generally known to have been taken to extremes.
ESPN reported Sunday that Incognito convinced Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas, even though Martin did not go on the trip.
Other instances of intimidation were captured on voicemails and texts, according to media reports.