« The complete downlow on the Dolphins WRs | Main | Dolphins seem to be driving Jason Taylor away »

Sparano rightly asks for perspective on arrested players

Today I ask the mob to put down its torches and pitch forks and take a deep breath. And I think Dolphins coach Tony Sparano would agree with me that in judging the recent rash of off-field stains by arrested or suspended players, we inspect the fruit before deciding it is rotten.

This offseason some Dolphins players have obviously shown bad judgment, been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and clearly failed to use their God-given brains in getting arrested or suspended by the NFL.

Will Allen and Ronnie Brown were arrested for DUI related offenses after failing field sobriety tests. Tony McDaniel was arrested for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. And Jason Ferguson was suspended eight games by the NFL for failing a league mandated drug test for performance enhancing substances, the second positive test of his career.

"First of all, I'm going to say this: I'm obviously not happy with any of this," Sparano said Tuesday. "That is for sure. I'm absolutely not happy with any of it. Anytime any player -- anybody -- brings a negative light to the organization in any way, I'm not happy about it. Those things have been addressed."

But then the Dolphins and we need to step back from the ledge of outrage and move to the more solid footing of reason and logic. Drunk driving is horrible and hitting a women is equally reprehensible. But we're talking imperfect people here and none are chronic offenders.

And no one has been convicted, save Ferguson who will serve his penalty.

"A few of the players that have had these issues as of late have been model citizens since I've been there and, really, for a long time in this league," Sparano said. "From my end, I do take that into consideration when you're talking about character. I've seen these players in critical situations during the course of the season, in critical situations during the course of games, off the field and what they've done in our community. I've seen them do a lot of positive things that way. I don't want to confuse one issue with character, but it is an issue that concerns me and is an issue that has to be addressed. But we're just going to let this whole thing play out and gather the facts and then make some decisions."

It is easy to demand the Dolphins or any other public trust have a no-tolerance policy and cut these players for getting arrested. But that isn't reality and isn't the right approach.

I cannot tell you exactly where the line is drawn for requiring instant termination of a relationship. But none of this offseason's problematic incidents have crossed that line yet. That doesn't mean no players should be terminated for being in trouble. Some definitely need to go.

The NFL is seriously concerned about Ben Roethlisberger and his (at best) penchant for getting into compromising positions with women who claim he has sexually abused them and (at worst) actually is a predator.

But one DUI arrest in Brown's case is not in the same universe with Roethlisberger. Allen, who has had offseason incidents in the past, is walking perilously close to being a problem, but again, what if he is tried and found not guilty of his DUI? He has, by the way, pled not guilty in the matter.

"I think you've got to look at the player's history," Sparano said when I asked if he'd cut a player who got in trouble. "If the history was chronic and there was a lot of problems there in the past or any of those type of things, I think that's something you would consider, for sure. But I think you really have to look at the past history of the player and see where you are and maybe, at that point, where your tolerance may be for that situation. But that's a possibility."

It obviously isn't a possibility with any of these players yet. And even with Ferguson the Dolphins went in the other direction -- signing him to a one-year contract days after the suspension was announced by the league.

"Jason Ferguson, really, for us, he's been a captain here for two years," Sparano said. "He has been a guy that I know very well, that we know very well and that knows us very well. I think that the guy made a mistake. But at the end of this, the middle of the season we really would've been looking long and hard to find a player like Jason Ferguson when he got hurt and we couldn't find one. At the end of this whole thing, when the suspension is over, we'll see where we are during the course of the season and where we are at that point. It may possibly be a great move."

So does it send a mixed message that Ferguson is a team captain, a leader on the defensive line and is also rewarded with a new contract after his second performance enhancing drug suspension?

Sparano thinks not as he vouches for Ferguson.

"He's been suspended one time since he's been here with us as a captain," the coach said. "But I would say to you that ... to send a mixed message? I don't think it sends a good message. I really don't. I know this player. I know Jason Ferguson pretty well."


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sparano rightly asks for perspective on arrested players :


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I guess I don't understand how a team who is all about character will bring in a loose cannon like Incognito and ship out a good citizen like Smiley to make room for him.

I hope I'm wrong, but I have a gut feeling that when Incognito goes off the deep end sometime in November, we're going to regret sending Smiley packing.

In-depth interviews are better than two paragraph posts.

I know that they don't always give you this level of access, but most of us appreciate this type of depth.

Thanks again for your hard work.



Great job Armando you stepped up your game today big time.

Yeah, sorry, but it's not OK to drive drunk. Ever. And please, if you get a DUI, you probably didn't just drive drunk once.

I was disappointed to hear this about Ronnie precisely for the what Sparano said: Ronnie has been a model citizen since he got into the league.

To me the biggest routine offenses in the NFL are spousal abuse and steroid use. These guys are way to big to be hitting woman. The steroid use doesn't even seem to matter any more. Rodney Harrison got a job with NBC despite using steroids before his first SB. It bothers me that the cheating doesn't bother other people more. Twenty years ago, a guy like Harrison would have been ostrasized. Now, he's given a high profile job.

Well reasoned and thoughtful post Armando.

As for Ronnie, with all the things going on in the NFL, this is a model citizen! Living in Miami with all the temptations that are out their for these guys, it's remarkable most of them are walk a straight path.

Pick up Owens for one year and let Incognito be his probation officer!

The "problems" that befall most any team are usually of this type.


The Domesetic Violence

The Steroid Use

Drugs in some cases.

The football world is not outside of the regular world. Since all these guys are just regular young guys that happen to play pro football for a living we tend to boost them up on a pedestal. We shouldn't. In life, many times they are just like everyone else growing up and making some mistakes.

I was very shocked that Ronnie Brown was busted and thought it was a joke at first as he does seem a pretty straight and narrow guy. Sometimes that's a facade and sometimes there is more truth behind the scenes... time will tell. I'm betting RB will come out as clean as one can from that type of incident.

I do belive that if he had trouble moving around (walking a straight line) his lawyer will be able to point to the fact that he was rehabbing so he may appear to wobble more he would normally. He has a clean background and that should help. I know when I was a youngster I used to drink and drive more than my fair share and never did get caught, so I I'm not going to be a hypocrit. I hope the courts diminish his charge and make it a big learning lesson.

With Jason Ferguson being so old, he may have taken the roid type stuff to heal up quicker for the team. It is often used for that purpose and he may have felt he needed it to make it back in 2010. I am speculating but, if that were the case you could easily see how his coach would not be too hard on the guy as he was doing it in the name of re-joining the team. I believe this is Ferg's last year playing in the NFL regardless.

I believe McDaniels got the "watch out or else" speech. The league, society, the team and most folks find the domestic violence stuff tabboo. Yeah there is always a chance that the "other" person involved is provoking the situation but, the big, powerful athlete needs to realize what they stand to lose and simply leave. It takes two to tango.

While I don't condone any of their actions I refuse to judge these players. I don't have all the facts and that is for the courts, league, team and coaches to do.

I can only hope that the players learn from past mistakes and do not repeat them.


The NFL is a microcosm of society.

Rob in OC,Like the way you reason.Great post on a perspective and makes sense.

Why make Miami be out to be the only city with temptations? You can drink in any city. New York I am sure has a much bigger night life than Miami. New Orleans is a party city with Mardi Gra and other big events. The Saints just won the Superbowl.

Any drinker that drives a car at some point crosses the line, has one too many and can get a dui. Lighten up folks and remember sober people kill others in accidents too.

Who has torches and pitchforks? Nobody.

Those damn black people you can take them out the hood but can't take the hood out of them.

Guys let me know if this makes sense,

Assuming Dez is there at 12:

There are alot of reports that Jerry Jones is in love with Dez Bryant so check this trade possibility.

Fins trade there 12th pick and 3rd round pick for Miles Austin (Parcells guys) and get the cowboys pick in the first round 27th overall.

So the fins get there number # 1 receiver and stay in the first round 27th overall.

And i don't think this is a reach at all.

What ya think make sense??

Austin is a proven receiver - don't think cowboys give that up for an unproven receiver IMO

Dolphins Yards after catch (YAC) Leaders for 2009

1) Ricky
2) Ronnie
3) Hillard

No Receivers with more than 5.1 YACS... Most of them are in the 2-3 range

How are they addressing this problem????

Jerry Jones was in Love with Mcfadden and didn't do squat...

This trade will never happen unless Miami gives up multiple picks or players for Austin Powers


You right he was in love with Mcfadden; however why get him when you can hav a beteer player out of the same college in RB Jones, which alot of scouts said was a better fit and player in McFadden.

Dez hands down is the best receiver in this years draft.

Agreed, but I still think Austin will command a high draft compensation or some players.. Do they need Smiley?

Maybe his price tag wont be too high since he is a one year wonder so far....

To those who are criticizing players accused of DUI:
There but for the grace of God go any of us at least once in our lives. I have a hard time sitting in judgment of people accused of driving after a few drinks...we've all done it before, and to act as if these players are somehow engaging in some sort of heinous criminal activity merely for downing a few beers and getting behind the wheel is ridiculous.

Get off your high horse.

Jerry Jones is also in love with Miles Austin. I don't think it will happen, just my opinion.

Translation: Parcells has obviously delegated punitive powers to me (otherwise these guys would be on a bus already). However, I have no backbone, and will take no action but rather employ a double standard and double speak.
Thank you suckers for coming today.

"But we're talking imperfect people here and none are chronic offenders."

Please please please remember, "none" implies singular, even if it sounds weird. So, "none is a chronic offender" is correct here. Good reporting, but this stuff drives me nuts.

Talk to your copy desk!

Translation: If you are a good player, I will let it slide, if you are a 3rd tier scrub you will be gone.
Also, I dont want to dimish your trade value so I can trade for more 2nd tier scrubs.

I think we should forgive the players. I forgive people all the time. In school, I was constantly picked on and sometimes I was beaten, but I have forgiven those people because it is better to not hold grudges.

Anybody who thinks the Dolphins should cut Ronnie Brown for a DUI that might still get the charges dropped either belongs in a looney bin or Jets Jersey... (you'd get more respect in the looney bin)

Thanks for the insight Armando... Many would want to believe stuff like we see in the NFL or other sports is a New phenomenon. Its not. For years sports reporters were reluctant to a fault to report any of the "Goings on" of players and coaches. Most players had large appetites for more then just food and drink and they were shielded for one reason or another. I think there was a time when it was not considered "Necessary" to talk about what a guy did off the field. And, thus they did not. Players were discussed concerning their ability and their performance. I liked it better that way. Not because I choose to make "Hero's" out of players... I think that is foolishness... but because I still believe that a Man's private life is just that. And, even in the bright light of stardom, people are still just people. We are setting ourselves up for a HUGE disappointment to believe ourselves or teach our kids any different. I do not condone or like some of the behaviors I hear or read about. But I know I am fully capable of many of the same mistakes. I just believe that it all breaks down in numbers very easy... you place 52 young athletic guys not far removed from college with a bank full of cash together and you are going to have a certain percentage who will find trouble. It should not be a shocking thing. CEO's and VIP's of every sort get DUI's every day... why be so taken back that a Football player get a load on once and awhile?

The thing is, no one will remember any of this stuff about Browns DUI or any other player who got into a little trouble come August and Sept.

Miles Austin is about to sign a long term deal with Cowboys according to the news...

There will be no crazy trades for wr... How hard is that to understand? If there was going to be a trade for wr it would have been Boldin, and that didn't happen... get over it.

No Receivers with more than 5.1 YACS... Most of them are in the 2-3 range

How are they addressing this problem????

Posted by: Waterboy
They are waiting for the draft... it will begin in a few weeks.
However... that problem is about 3 steps below what their primary concerns will be. Miami gave up more points in the 4th QTR last year then any other year in their history, they allowed more big plays then any other in history, they did not throw QB's out of Rhythm and were torched for it. They gave up points early and were unable to protect any lead they did get.... None... Absolutely "ZERO"... of those problem will be corrected by bringing in some Diva who will start pointing fingers the moment he feels a little pressure from fans or talking heads when asked why they are not winning. And if Miami does not fix the Defense... that question will get asked loud and Often. Defense in the main concern in this draft/off season. If we are lucky we get a few additions on the O. Get the "Core" team together this year and it will be a target rich environment next year to go after multiple free agents who will not cost Miami Draft picks. May as well relax on all the receiver shyt... it boring as it get repeated over and over and is not the problem here. We will see, perhaps a deal is brewing we know nothing of... they sure as hell are not going to announce it so you can sleep better.

Good job on asking the right questions Armando. I was waiting to hear what they had to say and i agree you have to take things in perspective when it comes to these players and their trouble and i agree. I was shocked to hear about ronnie but things happen. Hopefully this too shall pass as they say and we can get down to business come opening day. Ferguson susupension sucks that he will miss half the season but on the bright side he will be fresh when we need him the most.

Jed, you're just an idiot, point blank. Ritchie Incognito, Matt Jones, Ben Roethlisberger, what do all these names have in common? All players that got in trouble, and ALL WHITE. Does that mean all white people are bad? Not in my experience. Jed, that hole in your head is where your brain should be, somehow you seem to be missing yours (but I knew some idiot would make that remark). With that said, I'm really not that interested or surprised with these offenses. I don't mean to say they don't matter, but for me, I'm a fan of the Miami Dolphins. I want a winning team, a Super Bowl team. These off-the-field issues are for the organization and league to deal with. But as soon as these players step on the field, in a Dolphins uniform, they're "my" team, and I support them!

Where is this reported Bobby

Did you guys catch Joe Biden's F Bomb...
that was classic

I just saw it, I can barely hear it with all that clapping, what did he say? We F-in did it or something like that.

He says " This is f**ing big" when he hugs Obamatron... Actually you can hear The obamatron giggle at the f bomb.

Cursing is not nice. I think the NFL should ban all curse words.

What an idiot! The whole world is watching and he drops that! Typical Biden

Knight, what do you think the NFL's should do about the butt slapping between teamates? Does this send a bad example to our your?

bad example to our youth

Knight, are you in anyway related to the recent dolphins cut player SirVicent Rogers?

All incidents reported here were conspired and masterminded by the Tuna administration to assist with future contract negotiations and make sure fergie is healthy once solia starts to run out of gas -Absolute Genius

I hope drafts Carlton Mitchell from S. Florida in the 4 or maybe 6th round. I think this kid could be a stud for the value of the pick. Marshall like size but much faster.


Why do I feel like someone is talking to themself?

Waterboy, I don't really like to discuss my relatives in public. None of them really like me, so, anyway. I love the butt slapping. I think there should be more of it.

very odd discussion today

you people just dont get it. Forget recievers forget defense forget the draft if we dont change head coaches we will never get anywhere this guy is a horrible in game coach who doesnt know how to manage the clock or when to take a time out but then what can you excpect from a guy who jumps up and down and fistpumps like a 3rd grader over lousy field goals

These are all small isolated offenses. A DUI isn't exactly being responsible but Ronnie Brown has had zero offenses up until now in his life that we know of. Allen has never been in serious trouble in Miami. Tony McDaniel had a domestic violence which could of been just an aggressive arguement. If he laid his hands on his wife or girlfiend I would of cut him personally. I can't fathom that mind set to hit a woman and aside from that he is a rotation guy. His production isn't enought to excuse this kind of behavior. Ferg he was more then likely taking a performance enhancer to prolong his career or overcome his injury which is the norm in sports. Well it is the norm if it were baseball.

he went 11-5 and won the division a year ago???? How bad could he be really.

very boring blog topic today.

Do you guys think we make a move at TE or stay pat with



Great question, WaterBoy...

I would be very pleased to see Miami grab Graham out of the "U" around the 4th pick. Guy can catch like his hands sweat "Stick um" and is very athletic. I also like the fact he is willing to throw his body around blocking. Down side is he does not have a large body of work in school (He is a converted B-Baller) so that may place him outside of Miami's interest.

I just get that.."He is going to be a special player" Vibe off the guy... I know he is being looked at by many teams.

Armando pumps out 4 posts in one day yesterday and barely let's us talk about any of them before he writes another. So now we are left with this very anti climactic topic to discuss. Anyways, thanks for the hardworking Mando yesterday, but we starving for more.

I can tell you one thing that's nice to see today... plenty of traps being set and know one biting.... nice to see for a change... perhaps trolling has become a bit more difficult on Armando's blog?


If I had to make a bold prediction, I think we are more likely to draft a TE before a WR. Probably not what people want to hear, but I could easily see us going that route. We have good blocking TEs and would think they look for a Dallas Clark type guy. Aaron Hernandez doesn't fit the prototype, but I think he is a guy they will look hard at if he is there at 43.

For the hater that says Sprarano isn't a good in game coach can eat a fat one. Sparano makes mistakes but what coach don't. Every coach makes questionable gambles and calls. Sparano is an emotional caoch. He wears his emotions on his sleeves. I appreciate that and that's the kind of coach I want coaching a team I like.

Waterboy, I think we need to upgrade at the position. Fasano is most effective in 2 tight end sets. He has decent hands and can move the chains. He is most effective as a blocking tight end though. I don't think he is in the position to play to his strenghts. When Martin was healthy they were a very good 1-2 punch at the postion.

Bootang, I love your prediction or feeling on Hernandez. I have been thinking the same thing. He would be a good fit and compliment to Fasano.

I would love for Fins to take Gronkowski if he falls, 6:6 285 Parcells type guy, unlike Graham we don't have to worry about this guy learning his position

Hernandez will probaly be way to smallish for the TE position for Parcells

1 2 3 4 5 6 »

The comments to this entry are closed.