(CBS News) The NFL Players Union is calling on the league to uphold its responsibility to maintain a safe workplace for players. It follows revelations that Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin received aThey allegedly came from one of his teammates, fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
We've learned even when Martin left the team, he never told his coaches the real reason. He was worried that complaining about being bullied might damage his NFL career and lead to retribution. His agent told the team and they launched an investigation.
The menacing messages were laced with racism and profanity. In one voice mail message, according to NFL.com, Incognito allegedly told Martin, "Hey, wassup, you half [expletive] piece of [expletive]. ... I'm gonna slap your real mother across the face. [Expletive] you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
The Dolphins initially denied there was any improper behavior, but after they were provided with copies of the communications by Martin's agent on Sunday,and asked the NFL to investigate.
Last year, Incognito was chosen for his first pro-bowl, and received the team's "Good Guy" award for cooperating with local media. He also starred in a stadium video played before every Dolphin's home game encouraging fans to be good sports.
"He's a pretty nice guy, a pretty cool guy," said Dolphin's tight-end Michael Egnew. "He likes to joke around, but overall, he's pretty cool."
But Incognito also has had a troubled past. For four years, he led the NFL in unnecessary roughness penalties and he was released by the St. Louis Rams after clashing with the head coach. In 2009, he was chosen by his peers as the dirtiest player in the league.
Yesterday, TMZ released video, purporting to show Incognito in a drunken rampage.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said his suspension was justified. The Miami Herald reports that the team has already decided Incognito has lost his job for good.
"I'm not going to go into the specifics of what it was, but I had enough information I felt to make a good decision," said Philbin.
CBS News' special correspondent James Brown told the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts that while this type bullying isn't common in the NFL, there are many instances where young players are treated differently than veteran players.
"Rookie treatment, if you will, is widespread in the NFL, but in a benign nature - carrying bags, duct-taping guys to the goal posts, thing of that nature. Even buying meals for players, but clearly ... this is way overboard," said Brown. "This is atypical and it's totally repulsive."
Brown also said that he believes that Incognito's days as a Miami Dolphin player are "over." He said that the locker room is supposed to be "team-oriented" and it's a shame that this type of behavior occurred.
"Sometimes guys engage in juvenile actions, sophomoric for sure, but team leaders can usually tell if there's a player who's reached their limit and it's getting over board, those team leaders will step in," said Brown.
In the Dolphins' stadium program sold on Halloween, Incognito said Martin was the teammate who was easiest to scare. The two often played side by side, and have allowed a league-leading 35 sacks. Incognito was allegedly the ringleader of the harassment, so there may be more players implicated as the investigation unfolds.