MIAMI Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito says teammate Jonathan Martin sent him a threatening text message only a week before their relationship mushroomed into that has prompted an NFL investigation.
In an interview with Fox Sports televised Sunday, Incognito said he didn't take the threat seriously. Incognito said he regrets racist and profane language he used with Martin, but said it stemmed from a culture of "brotherhood" in the locker room, not from bullying.
"A week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me on my phone - 'I will murder your whole ... family,'" Incognito said, quoting Martin as using a profanity. "Now did I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit. He texted me that. I didn't think he was going to kill my family. I knew it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That just puts in context how we communicate with one another."
Martin left the team two weeks ago and alleges he was harassed by teammates, including Incognito. Martin is in counseling for emotional issues, and he'll discuss the case late next week with.
"This isn't an issue about bullying," Incognito told Fox. "This is an issue of my and Jon's relationship. You can ask anyone in the Miami Dolphins' locker room who had Jon Martin's back the absolute most, and they'll undoubtedly tell you me.
"All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood."
The Dolphins (4-4) play for the first timewhen they face Tampa Bay (0-8) on Monday night.
Teammates both black and white have said Incognito is not a racist, and they've been more supportive of the veteran guard than they have of Martin. It's uncertain whether either will play again in the NFL.