ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Like many coaches and executives in the National Football League, the situation inside the Miami Dolphins locker room is foreign to Mike Shanahan.
The Washington Redskins coach has patrolled sidelines in one capacity or another since the mid-1970’s and has never once experienced anything quite like what Richie Incognito has allegedly done to teammate Jonathan Martin.
Shanahan wouldn’t stand for it.
“Some people have hazing, other people don’t,” Shanahan said Monday. “I’ve never been much into hazing – just the opposite. You want these guys to feel comfortable even though they do have to carry shoulder pads and things along those lines. But everybody treats (rookies) a little bit different.”
The Dolphins levied an indefinite suspension against Incognito late Sunday night for his alleged treatment of Martin, a second year player from Stanford. On Monday, multiple reports stated Incognito sent racially charged and threatening text messages to his teammate.
Incognito referred to Martin as a “half n***er” in one text according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
Incognito is white while Martin is bi-racial.
Martin has been absent from the Dolphins facility since leaving for personal reasons a week ago.
Regardless of whether a player is viewed as being “soft” in the eyes of his teammates is irrelevant to Shanahan.
“If you think it’s a problem, it’s a problem,” Shanahan said. “That’s your job. If you can see it and you believe it is, then you address the problem. I think that once you address it, usually the problem’s over because you don’t tolerate it.”
It is not yet known whether the coaching staff or front office employees in Miami were aware of any harassment or bullying before Martin’s departure.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin stated Monday he was unaware of any such incidents.
Per Shanahan, it is feasible for a coaching staff to be unaware of a bullying issue among players on the roster.
“Sometimes someone might not be aware that’s going on. I’m sure that’s the case in Miami,” he said.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for assistance investigating the alleged hazing. The NFL Players Association is also conducting an investigation into the matter.