NFL stars weigh in on Dolphins' racial bullying controversy

theGRIO REPORT - Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Richie Incognito has been suspended by the team, following reports that he sent teammate Jonathan Martin threatening and racist text messages and voice mails...

Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Richie Incognito has been suspended by the team, following reports that he sent teammate Jonathan Martin threatening, racist text messages and voice mails.

The story broke headlines last week when Martin left the team after being the target of a lunch time cafeteria prank. The 24-year-old allegedly sat down at a table with other teammates, and his other teammates then got up and left him there alone.

According to Fox Sports, Martin “flipped out,” threw his tray on the ground and left. He has not returned to the team since.

When the topic of bullying first appeared in reports, Incognito took to his Twitter account to suggest he is not part of any wrongdoing.

Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins on Sunday night for conduct detrimental to the team.

According to ESPN the following is a transcript of a voice mail that Incognito left Martin in April 2013: “Hey, wassup, you half n***** piece of [expletive]. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] [expletive] in your [expletive] mouth. [I’m going to] slap your [expletive] mouth, I’m gonna slap your real mother across the face (laughter). [Expletive] you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

Fellow offensive lineman Nate Garner told the Palm Beach Post that the situation between Incognito and Martin was nothing out of the ordinary, calling it “normal stuff.”

Karlos Dansby, who played on the Dolphins last year with both Incognito and Martin, told the Arizona Republic that Incognito is a “down-to-earth guy.”

“I hate all this came out about him,” Dansby said. “It’s really attacking his character. I hope Martin doesn’t have any backlash from this from the rest of his teammates.”

The NFL Players Association released this statement earlier today:

We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all players and that owners, executives, coaches and players should set the best standards and examples. It is the duty of this union to hold the clubs and teams accountable for safety and professionalism in the workplace.

As the representative organization of all players, the NFLPA will insist on a fair investigation for all involved. We will continue to remain in contact with the impacted players, their representatives and player leadership.

This is not Incognito’s first incident that has affected his football career.

The former University of Nebraska player was suspended for the 2004 season due to repeated violation of team rules.

In 2009, Incognito was released from the St. Louis Rams following an argument with then-coach Steve Spangnuolo about multiple personal fouls in one game.

In a preseason game this August, Houston Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith swung his helmet at Incognito, resulting in a fine.

“You are what you are I guess,” Smith told ESPN Monday in response to the Dolphins’ incident. “That doesn’t surprise me one bit.”

While hazing of rookies in the NFL is nothing new, the debate as to whether Incognito took it too far is getting heated.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals