Sports

Leadership vacuum? Ex-players wonder why no players intervened in Dolphins case

  • Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin looks down during a media availability following an NFL football practice, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins suspended guard Richie Incognito Sunday for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who abruptly left the team a week ago to receive help for emotional issues. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin looks down during a media availability following an NFL football practice, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins suspended guard Richie Incognito Sunday for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who abruptly left the team a week ago to receive help for emotional issues. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 24, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stand on the field during an NFL football practice in Davie, Fla. Two people familiar with the situation say suspended Dolphins guard Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito's suspension. Martin remained absent from practice Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, one week after he suddenly left the team.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

    FILE - In this July 24, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stand on the field during an NFL football practice in Davie, Fla. Two people familiar with the situation say suspended Dolphins guard Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven't disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito's suspension. Martin remained absent from practice Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, one week after he suddenly left the team. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 image made from video made by WSVN-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito is interviewed near his home. The troubled, troubling relationship between two Miami Dolphin linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito took an ominous turn Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 with fresh revelations: Incognito sent text messages to his teammate that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said.(AP Photo/WSVN-TV)

    In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 image made from video made by WSVN-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito is interviewed near his home. The troubled, troubling relationship between two Miami Dolphin linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito took an ominous turn Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 with fresh revelations: Incognito sent text messages to his teammate that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation said.(AP Photo/WSVN-TV)  (The Associated Press)

A leadership vacuum may be partly to blame for the troubled relationship between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, which has left both players sidelined and the team in turmoil.

The ongoing saga has raised questions whether coach Joe Philbin and his staff were negligent in allowing issues between Martin and Incognito to fester. Current and ex-players around the NFL say the situation reflects a lack of leadership because teammates of Martin and Incognito didn't intervene to stop any harassment.

The NFL is investigating, trying determine who knew what, including whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin. The second-year player left the team last week and is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues. Incognito has been suspended indefinitely.

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