Miami Dolphins Suspend Lineman Amid Talk of Bullying

Richie Incognito accused of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin

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In this handout image provided by the NFL, Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011

The Miami Dolphins indefinitely suspended starting guard Richie Incognito on Sunday and launched an investigation into allegations he harassed a teammate.

Incognito and other players have come under fire after teammate Jonathan Martin left the Dolphins last week. Details remain hazy, but reports have indicated there was a confrontation in the team’s cafeteria. Fox Sports reports that teammates played a prank on Martin, leading the tackle to smash his tray and run off. ESPN reports that the team is looking into whether Incognito pressured Martin to shell out $15,000 for a team trip to Las Vegas. Martin didn’t go on the trip.

After initially dismissing reports of teammate bullying as “speculation,” the Dolphins suspended Incognito Sunday night “for conduct detrimental to the team.”

“We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time,” the Dolphins said in a statement. “As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter.”

Incognito had a verbal spat in 2009 with then-St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, and was suspended in 2004 for off-field incidents while playing for the University of Nebraska. He was also voted the second-dirtiest player in the NFL in a Sporting News player poll before the 2012 season.

Before the suspension, Incognito defended himself Sunday morning on Twitter, saying the allegations are “false speculation” and “slander” and that he wants his “name cleared.