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Jonathan Martin

Told Richie Incognito ...


1/8/2014 9:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jonathan Martin didn't look like a man who was dragged into hitting strip clubs before he accused teammate Richie Incognito of bullying ... at least judging by this pic, which is now in the hands of investigators and obtained by TMZ Sports.

Of course, after Martin left the Miami Dolphins in the wake of his bullying allegations against Richie, there were reports Incognito had been holding linemen meetings at Tootsie's Cabaret in Miami ... and players who didn't show up were fined and mocked.

But sources connected to the NFL investigation tell TMZ Sports ... Martin had sent several text messages to Richie before the fallout making it clear he was VERY comfortable hanging out in strip clubs.

In fact, we're told the picture (above) was taken at Tootsie's during a team outing in the summer of 2013. Sources connected to the strip club tell us Martin was hanging out with roughly 15 to 30 teammates that night and appeared to be enjoying himself (just look at the grin and the stack of cash in his hand).

We're also told ... the text messages show Martin would OFTEN reach out to Incognito about his fondness for strip clubs, especially Tootsie's ... and never gave any hint that he was ever uncomfortable in that scene.

In one of the texts, sent in June 2013, Martin told Incognito he liked Tootsie's so much, he planned to bring some visiting high school friends to the joint for a good time.

There's more ... we're also told the text exchanges show a conversation in which Martin said he couldn't make it out one night because "Mary Jane" had him glued to his couch.

We also know investigators have obtained hundreds of texts between Richie and Martin, which show they often exchanged graphic taunts ... and that Martin gave as good as he got.  Incognito has previously explained that he considered Martin one of his best friends and that the texts were in good fun.

We reached out to Martin's camp for comment -- and a rep told us, "We are fully participating in the independent investigation and await the results."

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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This is classic "trying to fit in" and be one of the crew.

289 days ago

Ginger Lamb    

Just because Jonathan Martin APPEARS to fully embrace this "lifestyle", or "behavior" - doesn't mean that he wasn't in an environment in which he felt tremendous pressure to conform and be "one of the guys", or else. People are capable of putting up tremendous fronts - and go through great lengths to ACT in ways they think will alleviate the bullying and win acceptance.

If Richie Incognito and others didn't throw their weight around (no pun intended) and foster an environment where strip clubs and vulgar behavior were "the things to do" to be fully accepted into the group - would we even be seeing this behavior out of Jonathan Martin? What if the Dolphins had a healthier lockerroom atmosphere - where such a crude form of "pack mentality" wasn't so strongly enforced? What if Jonathan Martin were in a lockerroom with, you know - more mature, classier "leaders"?

It's kind-of a shame that Jonathan Martin may have felt such a need to alter his behavior - that he didn't feel that he was able to gain the "respect" of others on his own terms. But this leaked "evidence" doesn't prove that Martin REALLY liked strip clubs - and it doesn't prove that Martin wasn't bullied. It just shows that - legally-speaking - the Martins' case may be harmed by Jonathan's extensive efforts to fit in.

287 days ago
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