MIAMI - Talk about turning on a dime.
On Sunday morning, the Miami Dolphins were dismissing allegations of bullying by one of its players as "speculation." By Sunday night, the team had suspended veteran guard Richie Incognito 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."
It was the third statement of the day from the Dolphins, who initially said the role of bullying in tackle Jonathan Martin's departure from the team last week had "not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally." Hours later, the Dolphins said Martin's agents had notified them and the team had asked the NFL to review the situation.
Martin, the second-year offensive tackle from Stanford, left the team last week and has not returned. Fox Sports first reported teammates pulled a prank in the cafeteria on Martin, who smashed his tray and took off.
In a statement released Saturday by the union, the NFLPA stressed its concern about players being provided a "safe and professional workplace."
"We have an obligation to protect and support all of our members," the statement said. "We take official investigations very seriously and in this case, we have not launched an investigation into Richie Incognito or other players in Miami."
Incognito took to Twitter to defend himself Sunday morning.
"@espn shame on you for attaching my name to false speculation," Incognito wrote in one of the tweets. "I won't be holding my breathe (sic) for an apology."
The Dolphins originally attributed Martin's absence to a non-football illness. He was listed as doubtful for Thursday's game against Cincinnati - an overtime win for Miami, snapping a four-game losing streak - before being downgraded to out.
When asked Friday if he has seen evidence of bullying or harassment, coach Joe Philbin said: "This is something we take very seriously, and it will not be tolerated."
The Dolphins play on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 11.
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