Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he will meet with Jonathan Martin, the player who left the team after alleged bullying. Ross also said at a Monday press conference that he's setting up a committee to create a code of conduct for the Dolphins for the 21st century. The committee includes Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin so far, he said.
Ross said he and Martin have communicated by text.
“The most important thing is we care about Jonathan Martin, number one," he said.
Ross said when the story broke he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and asked for an independent investigation. He said the team wants to get to the bottom of what happened.
“I don’t think anybody really knows what has happened because no one has really spoken with Jonathan Martin directly,” Ross said.
He and Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel spoke at a press conference in Tampa before the Dolphins' game against the Buccaneers in Tampa – two weeks after the Dolphins became the most controversial story in sports.
Martin, a second-year player, made a sudden departure from the team Oct. 28 after Richie Incognito and other teammates played a prank on him in the Dolphins' cafeteria.
Incognito was subsequently suspended after it was revealed that he sent racist and threatening messages to his teammate.
Ross said Monday that he's setting up a committee to create a code of conduct for the Dolphins for the 21st century.
The committee includes Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin so far, he said. It will include seven to nine people in all.
Ross said changes need to be made, and the Dolphins need to look at everything internally.
“I know this is so appalling to me,” the team's owner said.
Ross said going forward he wants the Dolphins' workplace to be the best one in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Martin has yet to speak publicly about the situation. That could change very soon, according to a report out Monday.
According to Fox Sports, Martin will not directly address the claims made by Incognito, but will instead explain why he left the Dolphins two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Fox aired an interview with Incognito in which he claimed he is not a racist despite his use of the n-word in messages to Martin. He also said Martin once sent him a death threat via text message.
Martin's attorney, David Cornwell, released that message on Sunday afternoon, revealing that it was an Internet meme photo showing a dog in its owner's arms with the caption "I will murder your entire f---ing family."
Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins on Nov. 3 for conduct detrimental to the team. The Dolphins requested that the NFL investigate the situation, and the league appointed experienced lawyer Ted Wells to lead the inquiry.
As the Dolphins prepared to play Tampa Bay Monday, in their first game since Incognito was suspended, Miami fans who had traveled to Tampa for the game largely said they were not embarassed about the scandal.
"I think each locker room, most locker rooms, do the same thing. He went overboard," Gene Simmons said of Incognito. "They should have brought it to everybody’s attention long before now. That’s the problem I have with it.”
Hank Kirby was a bit deflated over the Dolphins drama.
“I was pretty embarrassed with the way the offensive line was playing already, and this doesn’t help matters any," he said. "But I think a lot of people are speculating on it that have no idea what’s really going on in the locker room. And I think people should recognize whenever they go to give their opinion and let it be known I really don’t know the whole story, and none of us did. And I think the more the story unfolds, the more we’re realizing that wow, it wasn’t just something (of) Richie Incognito being a bad guy so much as just the culture of NFL locker rooms.”
On Sunday, Incognito said he was "embarrassed" by his use of the n-word, but also said "people don't know how Jon and I communicate to one another."
He reiterated the claim made by several other Dolphins that he was Martin's best friend on the team. "You can ask anyone in the locker room who had Jon Martin's back the most," referring to himself.
With Incognito's interview in the books, Martin is the only participant in this drama who has not spoken directly about it.
Martin is expected to meet with Wells this week.
Ross defended head coach Joe Philbin.
“I don’t think there is a better person, a more respected person, a more caring person in the National Football League than Joe Philbin,” he said.
Ross apologized to the team's fans.
“I know that we will come out of this as a better organization," he said.
He said everyone in the organization wants to get the situation resolved, put it behind them, and do the right thing.
More NBC6.com Stories: