UPDATED: Nov. 10, 2013, 1:45 p.m. E.T.
In his first sit-down interview since the harassment allegations surfaced, suspended Miami Dolphins starting guard Richie Incognito alleged that Jonathan Martin sent him a text message jokingly threatening to kill his family before the story broke.
“A week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me on my phone — ‘I will murder your whole f—ing family,'” Incognito said in an interview with Jay Glazer on Fox NFL Sunday, quoting Martin’s message. “Now did I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit … 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.”
Incognito admitted to using racist and vulgar language, but contends that it’s a part of friendly team banter. After the interview, Incognito revealed a backlog of 1,142 text messages between him and Martin over the past year, including texts sent after Martin left the team.
Martin departed the Miami Dolphins late last month after alleging that Incognito and other teammates bullied him. Last week, the team announced that Incognito was suspended for player misconduct and that they would be investigating the incident with the NFL.
After the interview, Incognito gave Fox News his phone to back up his claims. Glazer showed texts that Martin allegedly sent Incognito two days after his departure from the team, saying he did not blame Incognito or the team, and instead blames the locker-room culture. “Wassup man? The worlds gone crazy lol. I’m good tho congrats on the win,” Martin wrote, followed by a second text, “I’m good man it’s insane bro. But ust know I don’t blame you guys at all. It’s just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little.”
Incognito said he “undoubtedly” had Martin’s back, calling him his “best friend.” The offensive lineman said he was “embarrassed” by a voicemail he left for Martin, in which used the N word. Glazer read the voicemail aloud on the show.
“I’m not a racist. To judge me by that one word is wrong,” Incognito said. “In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable to use that word.”
When Glazer asked if Martin overreacted, Incognito said he could only be accountable for his own actions. “My actions were coming from a place of love. No matter how vulgar it sounds,” he said.
“This isn’t an issue about bullying,” he told Glazer. “This is an issue of mine and Jon’s relationship.”
Incognito said he regrets his use of language, but maintained that it’s a product of the environment and is not unusual in the locker room. He said it might sound like he’s a “racist pig” or a “meathead,” but that he’s actually a good person.
Glazer has previously worked with Incognito during the off-season as a part of the former’s MMA-training business, Sports Illustrated points out. On Sunday, Glazer commented on the issue, saying, “There’s a lot more to the story with Jonathan Martin personally than meets the eye.”
Martin has yet to comment.