On the first day of training camp one of the housecleaning issues that should have been properly handled was putting the "Free Hernandez" issue in the rear view mirror for Mike Pouncey.
The Dolphins fumbled badly in the attempt.
After an internal debate on how to handle the issue of Pouncey wearing a cap that read "Free Hernandez" during his and brother Maurkice's birthday bash at a South Beach nightclub, the Dolphins decided not addressing the topic and definitely not apologizing for any lack of sensitivity was the best way to approach it.
Coach Joe Philbin wouldn't discuss it publicly other than to say he wants players doing the right thing. Pouncey did not address it in his first availability, saying he was only prepared to talk football.
This approach came after a debate that had multiple people within the organization saying Pouncey should apologize for the cap that asked for the release of jailed and accused murderer Aaron Heranandez, a former roommate of the Pouncey twins at the University of Florida.
But what set the Dolphins approach apart was its contrast to how the Pittsburgh Steelers handled the situation with Maurkice Pouncey, the starting center in Pittsburgh who apologized almost immediately.
Well, apparently the reason Mike Pouncey didn't apologize or even address the issue is because the Dolphins wouldn't allow him. Unlike the Steelers, who wanted the situation handled quickly, the Dolphins took the bunker mentality approach.
Even when Mike Pouncey felt bad about the situation.
"I talked to Mike, and his team handled this situation a lot different than (the Steelers) did,” Maurkice Pouncey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I'm sure Mike wanted to apologize, but that's how they handled it.”
So Pouncey wanted to apologize but the Dolphins prevented him. And, according to sources, Pouncey wasn't the only one who wanted this issue handled differently. I'm told several people within the organization wanted to have Pouncey apologize and let the issue simply die right there.
Those folks obvioulsy lost the argument. The winner of the argument?
He wanted the bunker approach and got it.
I assume the coach figured not saying anything and definitely not apologizing would make the issue go away quicker. He was wrong. It makes the issue linger because the question is still out there, new details now arise from Maurkice that Mike wanted to apologize, and there's the whole idea of the coach going against owner Stephen Ross's stated approach on how the club is going to be run.
You'll remember in March of 2012, Ross said that to the extent it didn't hurt any competitive edge, his team would be run in an open and transparent manner. He said the team had to emerge from "the dungeon" of the past tight-lipped football administrations.
He made this proclamation after hosting his football people -- including Philbin -- at his home in Palm Beach the day before and giving them marching orders about his new way of doing business.
Well, that is not how the Dolphins approached this. And the fact the Steelers, an far more successful and respected organization, handled the same issue in a vastly different manner makes the Dolphins look worse.
By the way, how does Mike Pouncey feel today? I mean really?
He's an open guy. He speaks his mind obviously. But he was clearly told to shut it down and not apologize for asking the release of an accused murderer. He feels he made a mistake, according to his brother, but the club won't let him make amends? You think he appreciates not getting that off his record, so to speak?
An apology makes it go away. Claming up makes it linger. Philbin, a second-year coach, apparently doesn't understand this. The Pittsburgh Steelers do. Maurkice Pouncey, a third-year player, does.
“I think manning up to the things you do is always important for any man with any position in life,” Maurkice Pouncey said. "I think I came out here and did that in front of everybody. I think it'll mean lot to everybody in Pittsburgh and all around the country."
Except in Miami. Where Mike Pouncey was stifled.
Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/4401987-74/pouncey-hernandez-mike#ixzz2aGH9tVSF
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