Today's New York Times looks at two figures more directly involved in the harassment than was originally known - Martin's Miami Dolphins teammates John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. Initial reports of bullying centered on another Dolphin, Richie Incognito.
Friends and family members of Jerry and Pouncey who spoke with the Times couldn't make sense of allegations.
Pouncey, who is biracial, and Jerry, who is black, were each mentioned more than 100 times in the report, surprising many who watched them work their way up from humble beginnings, who saw them win state titles in high school, who cheered them as they thrived for top college programs, and who delighted in their rise to the N.F.L.
As investigators tried to piece together the Miami case, they zeroed in on the culture of the close-knit offensive line, led by Incognito, a lineman with a history of anger problems. Incognito, a Pro Bowler for the 2012 season, was banished from the Dolphins in November, soon after Martin, 24, a second-year lineman, left the team, saying that he had been bullied into such distress that he had contemplated suicide.
The ugly drama provided a rare window into a world where a player could mock another by simulating a sex act on him and where there were no consequences for repeatedly making jokes about wanting to have intercourse with a teammate’s sister and mother.
If Incognito was the “disease” plaguing the Miami organization, as an unnamed player told investigators, Jerry and Pouncey had been badly infected.
Later on the Times reports:
“John Jerry is nothing but a big ol’ teddy bear,” said Ricky Woods, a former coach at South Panola. “With what’s going on — I don’t know what happened. That’s not his demeanor. I never had a problem with John. The kids enjoyed playing with him.”
The news also hit hard in Lakeland, where Mike Pouncey has been a regular visitor since his graduation. The Pounceys, after reaching the N.F.L., set up a foundation to underwrite programs for children, including ones in their hometown. Among the programs listed on the foundation’s website are anti-bullying clinics.
Webster, a father figure to the twins, said he had “no idea” how Mike had become immersed in the bullying saga. “But I can tell you that he’s been raised to respect the value of his family and his team,” he said.