NFL investigates hazing, harassment

Local experts react to Miami case

INDIANAPOLIS - The National Football League has appointed a prominent attorney to investigate allegations of hazing and harassment in the Miami Dolphins locker room.

The case has put a national spotlight on hazing and bullying happening in more than just schools.

24-year-old offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was the target of the hostilities. He left the team to get help for emotional issues and accused the Dolphins of creating an unsafe work environment. 

30-year-old Richie Incognito, who plays on the same line with Martin, is accused of sending his teammate racist and threatening messages and voicemails to toughen him up.

Hank Nuwer is a professor of journalism at Franklin College. He has written four books about hazing.

"It's against everything that is sporting, civil and decent about us as human beings," Nuwer said.

USA Today asked Nuwer to comment on the Dolphins situation. Some people have started to blame the victim.

"If something has driven this person into a hospital as alleged, than something is very, very wrong with the structure of pro football itself and in particular, with the Miami Dolphins. It is unregulated, inhumane and is certainly not civil," Nuwer said.

Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleenor played with Martin at Stanford University. He was concerned about his former teammate.

"Obviously I don't know the specifics of the situation. He and I haven't discussed that. If the reports are completely accurate, it is a tough situation," Fleenor said.

The Colts have avoided a similar situation by creating a culture that wouldn't tolerate such a scenario.

"The atmosphere here is a certain way and it is a healthy environment," Matt Hasselbeck, backup quarterback, said.

For now, Incognito is suspended indefinitely.  Attorney Ted Wells said he will complete his report as soon as possible. 

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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