(CBS News) -- Miami Dolphins coaches reportedly asked Richie Incognito to toughen up teammate Jonathan Martin, the Sun Sentinel newspaper of Fort Lauderdale reports.
The paper cites sources that say that communication took place when Martin skipped two days of the team’s Organized Team Activity Program. The paper reports, “Incognito was encouraged by coaches to make a call that would ‘get him into the fold,’ one source said.”
Sources tell the paper Incognito may have taken those orders too far.
And now, for the first time since his suspension, Incognito is breaking his silence about being at the center of the bullying scandal.
Ever since the Dolphins suspended him Sunday night, Incognito has said nothing publicly about the scandal until a Miami television station caught up with him Tuesday night. Incognito said nothing about allegations that he bullied teammate Jonathan Martin or about his status with the Miami Dolphins. He told WSVN-TV, “You know what, I’m just trying to weather the storm right now ... this will pass.”
But his future with the team is in doubt. As the National Football League begins its investigation, the NFL Players Association released a statement saying “We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all players.”
Headlines about this NFL scandal have fans wondering how the Dolphins coaching staff never saw it coming.
It now seems apparent Martin never told his coaches - or the NFL - he felt threatened by Incognito until last Sunday, six days after the offensive lineman surprised the team by leaving. His agent then told the Dolphins, and when coaches saw Incognito’s profane, racist messages, they suspended him.
David Kolowski, a former Incognito teammate, said, “Seeing this wasn’t a shock, but I think the biggest shock was just the level that he took it to.”
Kolowski played football with Incognito at the University of Nebraska. He said Incognito bullied college teammates and one of them walked off the field.
Kolowski said, “Richie would kind of always take it to another level. The name-calling and some of the physical taunting and things of that nature were pretty commonplace.”
Hazing, especially of young players, is part of the NFL’s locker room culture. Some members of the NFL blame both players at the center of the Dolphins drama. Antrel Rolle of the New York Giants told CBS New York radio station WFAN, “Was Richie Incognito wrong? Absolutely. But I think the other guy is just as much to blame as Richie because he allowed it to happen. At this level, you’re a grown ass man, you know? You need to stand up for yourself. There is no punking that should be going on at the NFL level. Hazing is one thing; bullying is another.”
The Dolphins can suspend Incognito without pay for up to four weeks, which could cost him close to $1 million, CBS News’ Mark Strassmann reported on “CBS This Morning.”