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Brian Hartline: Jonathan Martin laughed over message

We expected the Miami Dolphins to be tight-lipped Wednesday concerning Richie Incognito's suspension and his role in Jonathan Martin's absence from the team.

Coach Joe Philbin lived up to expectations, sticking to a script. Incognito's teammates were far rawer. They were emotional. Some of that emotion was directed at the media. Some of it was directed at Martin.

The players could not have supported Incognito any stronger. They painted a picture of a good teammate, and many of them, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, said Martin and Incognito were good friends.

The voice mail that Incognito left for Martin was at the center of the conversation. NFL Media's Albert Breer obtained a transcript of that voice mail, which directed threats and a racial slur toward Martin. Wide receiver Brian Hartline indicated Wednesday the voice mail needs more context.

"This is the same guy that was laughing about this voice mail at one point in time, first of all," Hartline said of Martin. "Second of all, I believe that if you look through the whole voice mail, there's some things said that you probably shouldn't say in general, friends or not friends. But I know for a fact, that I've said things to my friends that I kind of wish I've never said to, either."

Hartline was not happy with how the story has been portrayed in the media.

"They're attacking our coach. They're attacking the values of the rest of the people in this locker room, and they have the mike last," Hartline said. "I mean, we were at a point where we weren't told to say anything. We weren't going to talk. There was an investigation, plain and simple. You guys expected that.

"And now we're able to say our opinion and really protect ourselves from being bullied from you guys, because we weren't talking. We weren't fighting back. No one said a word. You had no comments from Richie, had no comments from us. ... We're kind of tired of it. We're just going to do our point, and you guys can judge. But, honestly, it caught us all off guard, and it's a shame it happened."

Hartline was speaking about the national reaction to the Martin story, but at least one of his teammates specifically expressed disappointment with Martin.

"I don't know why he's doing this ... this is ridiculous," right tackle Tyson Clabo said of Martin, via the Miami Herald.

Clabo told reporters Incognito's public perception is not fair.

"What's (being) perceived is that Richie is this psychopath, racist maniac, right?" Clabo asked. "And the reality is that Richie was a pretty good teammate, and that Richie and Jonathan Martin were friends, or appeared to be friends."

Hartline said that "the truth" will come out in time. From the first minute the Martin news emerged, it's been one of the most complex, fascinating and uncomfortable stories we've seen.

It's inspired a lot of strong opinions across the country without a lot of strong facts. The Dolphins' voices on Wednesday were important to hear. More than a week after Martin left the team, the truth of the story remains to be determined.

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