Herm Edwards on Alleged Bullying: 'Athletes Are People Too'

Former NFL coach discusses recent bullying allegations made against Miami Dolphin's Richie Incognito
3:00 | 11/04/13

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Transcript for Herm Edwards on Alleged Bullying: 'Athletes Are People Too'
This is a special group. -- from the ABC. However and -- Devin -- in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report bullying in the National Football League locker room. The Miami Dolphins have suspended veteran offensive lineman Richie Ing cut you know for quote. Conduct detrimental to the team our partners at ESPN have been reporting today -- card you know. Targeted second year player Jonathan Martin who walked off the job last week after an incident in the team once room. Among the charges that Martin was made to pay 151000. Dollars for a team trip to Las Vegas that he didn't even attend. Among some of the other alleged acts of coercion and intimidation. We're joined now by a man who's been an NFL locker room since he made the Philadelphia Eagles team as an undrafted free agent 1977. Heat and coach the New York Jets in Kansas City Chiefs ESPN pro football analyst Herm Edwards term thanks for being here. Thank you much -- haven't been in these situations in so many locker -- sent several teams. Give us a sense of how deeply ingrained in this culture of rookie he's -- it is does does that happen everywhere is a common. Law award -- -- it's it's the right of passage in the and a rookie the national football only if it's nothing new for any football team now. I think there's a difference between hazing. And bullying in my opinion. In that never was. Tolerated in any locker room that I was involved. As you know the locker room is a place for most players. Congregate. It is it's a locker room of a lot of mixed cultures beliefs. Social. Backgrounds. And of the common goal is -- -- And I think what happens and -- locker room. Is is really dealt with with the players with the leadership on your football team. But there's also another point -- it in and that's the coach to head coach has to make sure the working environment. Which is a part of that locker room. There are certain things you don't tolerate. And obviously bullying players. In workplaces never tolerated in any locker room the National Football League now how this thing has come about. It's a failure of communications on a couple parts. One being. The leadership committee this -- -- and -- locker room leaders that understand it. You never take it pass. A certain point to where bullying becomes the main issue. That in the second thing that you understand is this is the head coach you always have different ways of gathering information to that locker room. It -- comes through the -- coach. Obviously the trainer. In this strip in me in the equipment because -- around the players all the time they hear these conversations -- -- is a -- And obviously you get it gets back to head coach you address -- So this hadn't been addressed -- -- but -- -- needles a guy that's all the leadership committee. I scratch my hand on that because he's a guy that obviously. Has a voice in this locker room but there's other players also that's a part of this and how this got here. It's it's mind boggling to me this this should not even be -- -- we should -- be talking about this today that should never took place herb your -- A guy -- and -- has been out of chapter is reporting today that Richie -- -- veto. It -- -- left. Not only this issue with that with this with the money but also left some pretty vicious voicemails and I -- -- put up the transcript for viewers now. To take a look at this we won't reach -- you can see it varied -- some pretty strong language there. As -- review this case have you ever seen anything like this go on between pro athletes before. What words -- -- at times a lot of it has do with anger guys compete in but his -- goes away dissipates it doesn't it's not a part of the the culture. This is that this is the problem. This was going on obviously not -- this year. But if you -- in that is maybe it was -- from last year as we know -- not a rookie. He's a second year player so this has been an -- going situation. In and why wasn't stopped or or relief. Talked about -- the players in the locker rooms and they look enough is enough you know you -- just got far no we're not going there. And then how didn't get back to coach. It's something to me word when we talk about communication lacquered communication arts program. There's -- that a lot of chatter on the -- and the Blogosphere today and on social media some postings on FaceBook people talking about this case. I think some people were surprised that here are two professional athletes big guys big kind of macho if you will football players. Eight yet this situation disappear bullying or hazing when everyone call it became so serious that it forced one got -- walk off the team any. I think that surprises a lot of people did that surprise you that it had become so bad that it's simply reach this point. Well why surprise and -- people. You know athletes there are people -- -- not machine. -- -- -- -- -- -- It is it's because your professional athlete that doesn't mean that these are not sensitive and it doesn't matter to wait three -- the -- -- -- brown one we all have emotions. And I think when you're an environment where you feel like you -- focus on your job because -- constantly -- -- -- Talk that are really feel like you feel like your gun wanted. That's not a good atmosphere -- to function it. Whether it's a football player or doors anyone's lot of work you don't you don't anticipate that going to work it work -- -- is the place where. We obviously the people that he used surrounds you. You have some camaraderie. And you you don't anticipate this at all. Mr. and it's a great point you make about the personhood of these players and also even -- it's a sport certainly been a business place really. A workplace that has the same standards as anyone it really is anywhere else you coached. With two different organizations how much how much responsibility. Did you have as the leader. Of these teams to sort of try to police this thing you think the coach it in this instance had a responsibility -- and failed. What you do have a responsibility -- responsibility is this is once you once you establish the work place this your workplace. The locker room -- -- players. That that that's within that's what they're doing this and you don't you don't trading near you don't walk -- -- -- -- you walk in the area all but that's not to replace. But the work environments of the whole organization. As far as how we function as a football team what -- on between -- a Kohl's stores in meeting rooms in the locker room. That's a party you're that that it as a part of your job description you have to make sure that is understood by players and I think the one thing you realize is that. This rite of passage for young players it's part of that what we call a tradition whatever may be in a National Football League but when it wouldn't escalates like this. You gotta put a stop to. That not only to coach. But the flyers and there's better play isn't there that a bit illegal long time and they know what that line is and you make sure they understand it as a coach that's what your first conversation which -- football -- -- I get I get this far. But -- -- this line is not going there with me. And and they got to respect you for that and if they do things like distilling don't occur. Her I -- get your reaction on that very point in this video we saw today caught our -- from the New York Giants camp last year. A young player being tossed into an ice bath looks -- looks pretty rough. It you know you're just talking about that line. You know -- -- the line was crossed in this instance or not but. Where is that line and how how would you describe what the line it is. -- the line is that the line is one where. That were a player feels like he's not water was not safe for them come from. So that's a -- it's a safety issue it's yet it's unwritten rule I -- players know that and you go to physical as far as -- -- port in the dead in the in in ice thing. Dating crossed the line that that's just part now if it continues to be an issue in other words is -- every day a bit cynical stops. You put your -- -- there's enough is enough gas and not seeing guys you know rookie guys that the first day training camp their late. Date they. Take taken time around ago polls. All right I've seen that now I have is leading guy's been a rough five minutes and vehicles they get cut him off again to monitor and -- like this happen. It is not uncommon but if it is that if it's a common occurrence. And you feel like one guy is -- -- picked all. It and you you gather that you get a feel for that as a head coach. Because as I say it is other people that are involved in this -- your ears in your eyes when you're not involved the new addresses you address and a team meeting. It's very simple you address this thing to make sure it doesn't boil over. And become a part of a workplace where the guy can't function. Before I let you go -- I think -- really isn't great perspective wanna just ask you about this specific case again -- all of us kind of fascinated by how this unfolded. It can't -- didn't really have a great reputation before the story came out he was voted in 2009 the -- dirty -- player among publication. What's your view what have you heard from your colleagues and team executives of him I -- if you were Joseph Philbin if you were coaching his team would. Would regime -- play again. Well I don't know that I don't have all information Ottawa speculate because I don't know what happened we're all gay admitted it as hours go by we keep getting information and I know this if you feel like he can't coexist in this locker world because the team is better than one -- It's -- in football the team is always better to 14. And if the one part is slowing the team down in -- -- becomes a distraction like this incident has become a distraction. He's become bigger than preparing to play for football game and guess what. You got -- alleviate death. Certainly something to pay attention to and I think you have brought some excellent perspective -- thank you so much ESPN of course -- gonna state. On top of this story that's ESPN's Herm Edwards thank you so much for being with us we'll hear later today. Up from the dolphins coach this afternoon we have we have received a statement. In and -- we can put that on the screen here we've received notification today. From Jonathan's representation about player allegations of misconduct were taking these allegations very seriously. And plan to review the matter further of the team says. We've also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review and as an organization. We're committed to a culture of team first accountability and respect for one another will be following this. Very closely in the days ahead and of course like we say it will continue to hear this afternoon we'll bring that to you at abcnews.com and all the latest. On this story on abcnews.com you can watch that press conference streaming live at ABC news that congress has been an ABC news digital special report. -- Devin -- in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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