It has been widely reported by other media that the Dolphins plan no salary rollbacks to coaches or furloughs to staffers if the collective bargaining agreement is not resolved.
This is only partially correct.
During my Q&A session with Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, the only moment when I believed I was getting the politically correct answer was when I asked if anyone -- including coaches, personnel people and staffers -- would be furloughed, fired or have their salary cut.
And I got the definite no ... followed by the classic escape clause of "for now."
I've been down this road before. Years ago, the team's message was that Don Shula planned to coach in 1996 and that "nothing has changed for now." Shula was done days later. Previous to that, I'd been told by Tim Robbie he didn't plan to sell the team "for now" before Wayne Huizenga bought the team. Then I heard from Jimmy Johnson during the winter of 1998 that he planned on staying with the team "right now" only weeks before he quit the first time.
Those eventual misdirections were not on par with Nick Saban's definitive "I will not be the Alabama coach," but they nonetheless left a taste of misdirection on my palate.
So "right now" is a red flag to me. And that is why I followed up with a search for a categorical answer that could be written in stone. And of course, Dee was not able to provide it. The exchange:
Q. So you cannot state categorically that Dolphins employees, staffers, coaches or others won’t be furloughed, fired or asked to take pay cuts during a work stoppage?
A. “I can say that is our plan for the near term. We’ve communicated openly with our staff that we see it as being business as usual for the moment. We’re taking this one month at a time, one week at a time, even. Clearly, we’ve talked about all of the various scenarios that could play out, but we haven’t made any final plans to move forward with any changes related to the CBA at the present time.”
Dee was being honest. He was being forthright. And he was making it clear that while there are no plans now to cuts jobs or salaries in case of lockout or significant work stoppage -- which as of this writing remains possible despite hopeful signs to the contrary -- those plans can and probably would easily change going forward if labor peace is not achieved within a specified time.
The feeling I got was the Dolphins won't make any cuts until games are threatened. If there were to be a strike of some kind or lockout of some kind that threatened games, I believe the Dolphins would start to trim salaries for their coaches, personnel people and others.
It hopefully will not come to that.
But so much for those definitive reports.