SBD/February 4, 2014/Media

NBC Says Martin Contacted Dungy Directly For Interview As Criticism Continues

Dungy (r) has been criticized for failing to ask Martin tough questions
When NBC's Tony Dungy interviewed former Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin last week, the net "never had the opportunity, or attempted to exert any influence, on the choice of the interviewer," according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. NBC "reached out" to Martin after bullying allegations broke "but didn't get a response for weeks." The Martin camp a couple of weeks ago "reached out not to NBC officials, but to Dungy directly, telling him he would be interested in doing an interview with Dungy." That was "relayed to" NBC execs. Jackson wrote Dungy is "not a journalist by trade and certainly not a seasoned interviewer." Dungy was "remiss in not asking numerous questions that needed to be." NBC's Bob Costas "would have asked more probing questions, but Martin only wanted Dungy, who seemed more like a father figure than a reporter" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/2). In N.Y., Bob Raissman named Dungy his "Dweeb Of The Week," writing Dungy "couldn’t break through" with Martin. Nor did Dungy "ask questions like: How come you didn’t tell teammates to stop messing with you? Or just asking Martin to provide specific details of incidents?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/2). In Boston, Ben Volin wrote Dungy was "way too soft on Martin in last week's NBC interview, failing to question Martin's motives" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/2).

PLACING BLAME? ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Dungy following the interview "found himself on the receiving end of a somewhat confrontational phone call" from Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, who believed Dungy "blamed him for not creating a hazing free environment for Martin and other Dolphin players” (“Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 2/2). Dungy said, “It really wasn’t confrontational. Coach Philbin saw the piece on the ‘Today’ show and where I said at the end, ‘I think Jonathan Martin can play, but he’s going to need the right type of locker room.’ I didn’t think the Miami locker room was a good situation for him. And Coach Philbin took issue with that and wanted to know what I meant by that. We had a discussion and talked about it” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 2/4).

WELLS REPORT EXPECTED THURSDAY: NFL.com's Michael Silver cited a source as saying that the report by special investigator Ted Wells on the Dolphins bullying case is "expected to be delivered Thursday" (TWITTER.com, 2/2). Meanwhile, in Miami, Armando Salguero noted the committee created by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross to "address some of the problems he perceived to exist within his team" has "never met." It has "no agenda," and there is "no schedule to meet." Sources said that it is "possible that committee may not ever meet." Committee members, which include Dungy and former Dolphins Dan Marino and Jason Taylor, "have not gotten even one phone call relative to information on the committee" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/2).
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