By Chris Perkins Sun Sentinel
DAVIE, Fla. — Coach Joe Philbin said the Dolphins took “immediate action” after finding out guard Richie Incognito, who stands accused of harassing teammate Jonathan Martin, was accused of harassing a female volunteer at the team-sponsored golf outing last year in Aventura.
According to the Aventura, Fla., police incident report, Incognito “used his golf club to touch her by rubbing it up against her vagina, then up her stomach then to her chest.” The police report goes on to say the Dolphins were made aware of the act and told the accuser they would “take care of the situation.”
Philbin was brief on the topic Saturday.
“That incident occurred a year and a half ago,” he said. “We were made aware of the incident and we took immediate action.”
Asked what, specifically, was the “immediate action” taken by the club, Philbin didn’t elaborate. He also refused to say specifically what action the club took.
“Any club action that we would take against any player would be kept private,” he said.
Although the national frenzy on the Martin-Incognito situation calmed down a bit Saturday — the media numbered about 75, down from about 100 earlier in the week — it remains a troubling and embarrassing episode for the Dolphins. And it shows no sign of totally dying down anytime soon.
In fact, Incognito, who is serving a team-issued suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, could be back in the Dolphins’ locker room on Dec. 4.
According to the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the maximum Incognito can be suspended for that offense is four weeks. After that, and if the NFL review of the Dolphins’ workplace isn’t concluded, it’s possible, and perhaps likely, commissioner Roger Goodell would extend Incognito’s absence.
Incognito, who has become a national lightning rod since he was alleged to have harassed Martin, was suspended on Nov. 3.
In other developments, a former Dolphins player said Martin probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable going to Philbin with a complaint about being bullied because Martin saw Philbin get rid of players who complained last season.
“He did that,” said the player, who remains in the NFL.
“It’s no doubt he did that. If you felt a certain type of way about the way you were being treated, or things that were going on around you, or you didn’t like the way things were going and you said something about it, they got rid of that. They got rid of all that.”
In light of that, the player was asked, how could Martin feel comfortable going to Philbin with an issue?
“That’s a helluva question,” he said. “If you’ve seen guys go to him and get the ax, hey, you know?
“He probably felt like he wasn’t approachable, that he couldn’t approach him with that situation. Who knows? But I’m not there so I don’t know what changes Philbin has made or what rules have been put up. I’m not sure.”
Several Dolphins players, however, said Philbin is approachable.
“Like he’s always said, ‘I have an open-door policy,’ so it’s there,” linebacker Jason Trusnik said. “Your job is to go up there and talk to him if you have a problem.”
Punter John Denney, the Dolphins’ union representative, said he’s been to Philbin’s office a few times to discuss “mostly union-related” things.
The league’s union representatives, one from each team, had a conference call on Tuesday night. Denney was on the call, which was designed to apprise members of the Dolphins situation.
Denney said Martin should have approached him about being bullied or harassed. Denney said the NFL has hotlines to help players through such crisis. Denney knows what he would have done if Martin had come to him with a problem.
“I’d have made sure he (is) aware of those (hotline) numbers,” Denney said, I’d have asked if he talked to coach or anyone else, I’d have encouraged him to do so and make the proper steps towards finding some help.”