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Did the Dolphins know? If not, why not?

The questions have to be asked as the embarrassment that is the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito-locker room misconduct story mushrooms and is about to get uglier because lawyers are now involved:

What did the Dolphins know and when did they know it?

What good is professing a locker room that coach Joe Phiblin says "I believe strongly in" when that locker room can spark this kind of scandal?

What kind of leadership do the Dolphins have ... or lack?

Those are some pertinent questions that might be at the crux of so many problems the Dolphins now face. And the questions don't just apply to this one national story that has sullied the Dolphins entire franchise. These questions affect the entire team going forward.

And the answers need to be found because otherwise it calls into question why some people should remain in the club's employ.

So let's take the questions one at a time. I will post the three questions in separate posts throughout the next 24 hours. Here is the first installment:

When did coach Joe Philbin and the organization know there was an atmosphere of alleged on-going harassment among players in the locker room -- one that went beyond Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito to include veterans and rookies?

The answer to that question might determine the survivability of Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland and some assistant coaches.

The initial and obvious suggestion from the Dolphins is they did not know of the behavior that apparently helped drive Martin to leave the team and seek emotional help last Monday, thus jump-starting a week of scrutiny that has been embarrassing on many levels.

In their first of three statements delivered Sunday, the Dolphins said they didn't know of the Martin-Incognito situation internally.

"The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally," the club said.

So the team's stance as of 11 a.m. Sunday was that no one within the organization knew anything was going on between teammates.

Is that true? That will all eventually come out because Incognito plans a represented and vigorous defense of his position and that will include unveiling a lot of details the Dolphins will probably wish weren't public. 

So the team that rightly suspended him for sending Martin "threatening texts" and leaving an email that used racial epithets should be bracing for a retaliatory nuclear strike.

Until that happens this space is going to operate on the assumption that Philbin & Co. were unaware of any problems.

And that leads to this question: Should they have known?

Is it part of the coaching staff's job -- not just the head coach but assistants also -- to have the pulse on the locker room? Should the Dolphins have known that rookies were being forced to pay for meals for veterans?

And should the coaching staff have known that all of this is a potential violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy?

The truth of the matter is the Dolphins seemed completely ignorant of the fact one of their players was allegedly tormenting another. Equally troubling is that the so-called victim in this either didn't feel comfortable enough to speak up or said something and was ignored.

(I can tell you that coaches do not live with their players. They do not and cannot know everything that happens in those players' lives. Teams get caught unawares all the time. The New England Patriots, for example, were apparently ignorant of the fact tight end Aaron Hernandez was possibly a murderer to the point they gave him a whopping new contract extension. But the difference between that situation and this is that Hernandez was allegedly conducting his misdeeds away from the team. In the locker room, he was apparently a model citizen. Meanwhile, this Dolphins issue was happening right under the coaching staff's and personnel department's eyes -- in the locker room.)

Incognito's actions, whatever they were, do not rise anywhere near the level of Hernandez's alleged crimes.

But the Dolphins out-of-touch state is every bit as complete as New England's was. Not only was Incognito considered a team leader, as his status on the team's so-called leadership council suggests, but club officials embraced him. They vehemently defended him against the early allegations of misconduct on his part.Richieross

The team trusted Incognito. When the Jake Long free agency tour was in full swing, the Dolphins called Incognito and requested he represent them and the team's interest with Long. They asked him to try and convince Long to return to the Dolphins, believing he, as Long's friend, could convince the tackle that Miami was the team for him. That is done by teams all the time. But usually the players the team picks to be their surrogates are trusted players that the organization sees as their best face.

Years ago the Dolphins used Dan Marino in this regard. During the chase for Peyton Manning, the team asked Jason Taylor for help. So Incognito was viewed by this team on that level relative to Jake Long.

The embrace of Incognito, who by his own admission and history was troubled when he arrived in South Florida, was so complete the team put him on display prior to every home game this year. That's right. The team made the video below of Incognito explaining to fans at Sun Life Stadium how to behave and be "civilized."


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/#storylink=cpy


Is that ironic?

This shows the club fully believed Incognito to be a model citizen, to be respected and to represent the team.

If the allegations against Incognito prove true -- and you must remember the team is sufficiently convinced there is strong evidence against him to suspend him without pay -- it suggests the Dolphins were as an organization totally clueless what kind of player person they truly had in their locker room. It also proves the coaches have no idea what men in the locker room are good guys or not. Their expertise on the issue is none-existant.

All this also suggests if Joe Philbin and his coaches survive, they need to do a better job of finding out what's really going on inside the team.


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No Evidence


lol is anybody surprised this team lacks leadership? They got rid of all of their leaders last year. Long, bush, bess, burnett were all good locker room guys. Dansby was so so. Id like to see wake, solia, hartline and tannehill take more of a leadership role with this team. I thought pouncey would have been good until this summer. He's just a young knuckle head too.

I don't see Martin ever playing again. Imagine the torment he'll go through every Sunday against opposing defensive lines now they know he's weak. He should have just put Richie in his place after one very stern warning.

Incognito is a big, fat, jerk who the Dolphins endorsed as a team leader. this story has legs and i am sure there are other players who participated in the harassment of teammates. we have sadly become a dysfunctional org. and an embarrassment. this isnt the same dolphin team i have followed for 40 years; its devoid of true leaders.

c/p from last blog::

Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of Dallas Thomas and Danny Watkins this year.

OL from left to right:

Party Animal, Perenial Backup, Possible jail bird, 3rd round bust, washed-up free agent

(McKinnie, Garner, Pouncey, Jerry, Clabo)

Backups now look like:

possible 3rd round bust, 1st round bust (Dallas Thomas, Danny Watkins)

Remember when we thought Samson Satele couldn't handle being on the OL and when Jake Grove was an FA bust....at this rate Columbo may be a better player than half our OL

also, being a good leader involves doing the right thing. Having good morals and good values should be an integral part of being a good leader. If you are following knuckle heads long enough you'll start acting like a knuckle head yourself.

And about philbin being naïve on whats going on in his own locker room.... There is something I really want to say but I'll hold my tounge on this one.

If Martin couldn't trust the coaching staff enough to go to them or some of his teammates then there is a big organizational problem. Each and every player,and coach needs to have each other's back for a football team to be a winning one.


from last blog:

Mark/Silverback, I want to get away from Martin here. I think we all agree he's not good enough to even try and salvage what we can from his remaining 2 years (he's still on his rookie contract). We're not absolving him, we all think he's too soft to play in the NFL. Agreed.

Let's take this a step further. Mark, you (and others) hated Brandon Marshall. So he's gone. Some hated Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. They are out of here. Some didn't think Reggie Bush was anything special. He's out of here. These are all players that are successful with other teams. We've let a lot of talent get out, talent that I'm not sure a great HC like Belichick wouldn't be able to win with. Randy Moss was a troublemaker. Brandon Meriweather was a "dirty" player. Yet Belichick seems to get the most of out these guys.

Don't you guys wonder our coaches have so much trouble finding the right guys for this team? Or do you put it all on the GM? Sean Smith is a press coverage CB. Yet here they wanted him to play zone? Does that mean if we had Richard Sherman they'd change him too, and get rid of him if that wasn't where he shined? If the coaches schemes are that rigid, where you need that exact right player to make it work, is it really worth implementing? When there are schemes out there (Belichick, Ryan, etc.) where you can plug players in and make it work?

That's where my anger lies here. Forget Martin, that issue to me is dead. It's the bigger issue. The issue that we're nowhere closer to our goal of becoming relevant then we were when Dan Marino left the team. Andy Reid took over a bad team and in one year turned them into an undefeated team. We'll see if they can keep their winning ways over the next few years (since we did that too in '08, not to their extent, but made the Playoffs), but after '08, we're right back where we started, mediocrity. Aren't you guys sick of that? And you don't think coaching has any blame? Or the personnel dept? My position is they are all culpable. They all had a hand in this sh*tshow. Philbin isn't changing the culture of the team, the organization is bringing Philbin down to their level.

My only question is: When will it end?

Posted by: DC Dolfan | November 04, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Msrtin had two choices stand up and say enough or go to coaches and say listen we need to put a stop to this. Oh yeah third choice run away from the team like a little botch and start filling complaints like a coward

ETF,there is evidence and that is why they suspended Cog. Martin (aka: sensitive guy)turned over texts and voice mails from Incognito with threats,etc. This is a travisty and has become a national drama putting the Fins in a real negative spotlight. I can not imagine this ever happening under Shula or Jimmy Johnson,and if it did,they would have taken care of it in house,guaranteed!

I do not know what went on in the locker room and how bad richie bullied thomas. I see why this team has not jelled and given up about 40 sack. I think a little has to be that thomas was moved back to the right side of the line which he did not want. Bullies are great at disguising who they are bulling how many teachers know that a student has been bullied. This is still Irland watch and Dolphins have more blackeye public relations nightmares since he took over as a GM. Dolhins need a new GM with the control to hire and fire who he wants to get miami from being the laughting stock the Bucs and Jacksonville are saying atleast we are not the Dolphins


Good post Mando, I agree totally. This looks bad for the position coach, OC, HC, GM, Owner, everyone. It happened under their own noses (Hernandez and other off-the-field issues generally happen far away from the stadium or training facility). Again, like you said, ESPECIALLY because Philbin re-iterated how good his locker room was. That was complete BULLSH*T! Basically, that's what happens when you get communications advice from a Bill Parcells' mentored lawyer.

And not to conflate the two or bring up an unrelated matter, but did Philbin know his son was troubled? It makes you wonder now. How detached is this guy? From his own family? His professional family? Is he one of those types that sits from on-high and never gets in the dirt with the livestock? Was this an oversight by Ross?

It looks like the Dolphins wanted to sweep everything under the rug until the NFL office got involved and then all of a sudden they decided to suspend Incognito and do an investigation

I dont think its fair to attack the coaches or the front office for this. These things happen on EVERY team. Maybe Icognito took it a bit too far but still these things are/were part of every team. If MArtin didnt leave the team this would be a non story.

Question is - has this been a problem all along? Has this been the reason the O-Line has not gotten better under Sparano or Philbin? Has this issue cause free agents not to come here or leave (Jake Long??)?????

The reports state that Martin approached Philbin in the Spring regarding bullying from RI.

Should a manager have no responsibility to the other staff if there is a bully in the office he is accountable for ?

No Philbin didn't send Martin text messages, at least I hope he didn't ? However he is accountable for the behaviour of his players at the facility.

A classroom is a bit bit different to an NFL locker room no ? The report may well show that Philbin has done nothing to stop abuse in his locker, he has to police these events.

Earlier this week he lied and said there was no bullying or reports of bullying on his team. Rubbish !!! The reports are now coming out that Martin had approached Philbin several times to alert his coach to the abuse. Philbin chose to either ignore or do nothing on receipt of this heart felt appeal from Martin.

Philbin on so many levels is not right to be a head coach, both on and off the field.

also, Incognito looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy in that picture with the video shown above

all he needs is the little white hat to go with that white shirt

Colin Cowherd just reported that Incognito send e-mails to Martin with the "N" word. Incognito must be taking out of the NFL for good

Cleaning up all this mess could really improve the team. A-holes in the locker room could explain a lot about why the Fins don't play up to their ability as a team.

I can see the coaches not knowing about this BS. They talk football, not who paid for dinner.

And Incognito was gone after this season anyway. JI drafted his replacement last year. Dallas Thomas played LG his senior year at Tennessee, and he'll be our LG next year. That was true before all this hit the fan. Can't replace everybody in one year. I'm sure the Fins management were hoping to get through the end of Incognito's contract and let him walk, but this is just as good. Maybe some of the other A-hole veterans will get their asses kicked, and we can stamp out this BS me-first culture for good.

Wow Philbin and Ireland got sucked by RI, good and proper.

It's going to be fun watching Philbin, read you cue cards again at the press conferences, trying to pass the buck again.

Ireland has to step up now. The GM has to be answerable to the fans and the rest of the world.

Take a sip of coffee and move closer to the mic Jeff, your on !!!

As much as folks want answers in black and white they are usually in grey. I think the situation was one of normal locker room fodder that went a bit beyond the norm. I believe the real reason Icognito (rightfully) was suspended was because of the racial undertones to his threats.



The threatening voicemail Richie Incognito left for Jonathan Martin has been revealed and heard by both the Dolphins and the NFL.

ESPN's Adam Schefter has the vile quotes. "Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. (I'm going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I'm going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you." Jonathan Martin has left the team and Incognito has been suspended indefinitely

Who should be suing the team is RYAN TANNEHILL, the team's 2nd year QB, a No. 8 draft pick, given *this* for an O line in his 2nd year??????!??

Absolutely un-freakin-believable.

if this is race based, that would be ridiculous and fatso's punishment should be a cage match with Wake

also the left tackle is the baddest man on the team, supposedly. Martin should have just kicked the hell out of RI

Who's with me? Again:


Why do you think the Phins were going to get rid of him ? He was on their damned Circle of trust, 'Leadership Council'.

When questioned, Philbin stated there is no bullying here.

When told, 'coach we have evidence of bullying on texts and voicemails', Philbin states," oh those ones, yeah".

Makes me cry.

I take it that at this point RI is "suspended" for his own good. Racial undertones? How stupid is he?

I'm pretty sure there are more than a few big strong black guys on the team other than Martin. And on other teams too. And RI has been poking eyes for 6 years. Wow. Is RI that tough that these guys can't break his knees?


All I'll say is this: We need to take the blinders off and not kid ourselves into believing the Dolphins are the only team this has ever happened to , because that is an extremely naive point of view.

also, by the way, social media like twitter and facebook has literally destroyed our society in many ways

This isn't some isolated, one-off incident. There's a long pattern.

They say that, "a fish rots from the head back." Meaning that this situation is squarely the fault of the head coach. He ultimately is the one who is responsible for the actions of the team, on and off the field. This is on Philbin (and Sherman and the OL coaches). It doesn't help that Philbin consistently preaches what a 'privilege' it is to coach 'these men', how proud and how he 'believes in them' and waves the strong character banner as a STRENGTH. Let's face it: Philbin (that we know) is the anti-Rex Ryan.

He knew. He looked away. He didn't know how to deal with the situation even after Martin came to him. Philbin is weak sauce.

As some people want to make this a racial issue, "which is not of course" in my opinion. African americans are knit tight when it comes to racial issues, so believe me if any of the brothers in the Dolphin organization would have seen any type of bullying by a white team mate they would have made this stop immediately! What I suspect is that pressure got to him and he couldn't take it anymore and Incognito got the rap hence his reputation. I'm not saying he is not guilty of the pranks, but I'm sure he is not the only one.

Philbin and Ireland turned a blind eye to Racists abuse and to top it off put the number one racist in then leadership council.

Why should he be able to stay in the building. Crisis talks are on-going at the moment.

Can we win without Philbin and Ireland ? Totally. We win despite then not because of them.

Cranitor, blame shifting wont work here. Its on the Dolphins doorstep.

Hire Dan Marino (again) to operate as Club President in the same capacity as John Elway for the Broncos. Hire Bill Cowher as Head Coach and allow him to choose his GM. Purge this entire cesspool and return us to respectability.

its embarrassing for a grown man to get bullied. If im j martin I need to look in the mirror and assess my life. This sounds like some high school bs. I mean seriously.

My guess is this team didn't know a lot of this. I think Philbin is too much of a stand up guy to allow this. If there is racially charged as well, then he in NO way he knew that this was happening, or any black players for that matter!

From Wikipedia:
Extortion (also called shakedown, outwresting, and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion.

If reports are true, Incognito and others may face bigger problems than NFL sanctions.

Well, according to this piece here, neither Bill Belichick and the organization up there were aware that Hernandez was associating himself with serious criminal element. Are we to believe that? Of course not. They might not have realized the consequences stemming from that association.

Philbin is no patron saint either.

In fact all this leads me to believe that not only did he know, he CHOOSE to ignore it.

Lets get rid of Marshall and put Icognito on PSA announcements.

Oscar. forget the pats, we have to deal with this situation. No-one cares about Hernandez now he is done. The Pats cut him when the cops showed up.

They didn't know he was killing people, or are you stating they did ?

You're going to waste your time asking about this situation in Today's presser as Everybody is being investigated now. Ask better who is going to substitute for these already gone Players, any OLInemen being brought in, etc.


It is just a real shame that this team can't just concentrate on the Bucs and get better as a team!

Its crystal clear Philbin and Co. need to GO…what type of a leader is oblivious to this type of discord in his or her organization? its a reflection on his lack of capacity for the NFL HC job. Mando please start putting out the names of qualified men for a new
HC and hopefully Ross will act swiftly and decisively. I have had 4 club seats for 10 years and this will be my last unless they clean house with the coaching staff.

I forget what did the Giant's do with Jason p. Paul last year for physicaly harrasing Prince Amukkmora?

How many inflammatory points is this worth? Oh and I found this dudes facebook photos.


This is ridiculous if everyone doesn't think this happens on every team in the NFL you've all lost your mind. Just like the Saints were the only ones to offer bounties. They just found someone who wasn't mentally strong enough to deal with it. Hopefully this will start a change in the mindset of the players but to try to blame any one team or person is insane.

Yeah Im looking forward to the Bucs game. Our backs are against the wall, we are on the ropes. There is some fight in the dog yet.

5-4 and we could turn this situation into a fireball.

Who said that Hernandez was killing People , Marco? That has not been proven in a Court of Law yet. Unless you know something, I mean...

Heads are going to roll. Philbin allowed this happen..watch his pathetic "statement" prepared by Dolphin higher-ups saying bullying won't be tolerated, but yet can't answer the question if he was aware of it. Fire him now, along with Ireland who brought in these clowns.

Also, Philbin and Ireland got rid of the team "leadership" of Bush, Long, and Dansby because they want to control everything and want to keep the players in their place. I'm not impressed with him as a head coach...un-inspiring and horrible play calling. This season is already a failure..Control, Alt, Delete this season and start over for next year.

Tony B.

I don't think your arguement that all NFL teams are like the Dolphins locker room will go down well in court.

Its like saying, "everyone breaks the law sometimes".

The punishment should fit the crime. Philbin and Ireland have either condoning or ignoring racist abuse on their hands.

Who else is laughing at that fluff piece ESPN ran on Incognito this past summer? Just waiting for all of the other dirt on Incognito to come out. This is going to get UGLY fast.

And, unless the Dolphins make the playoffs, Philbin does not survive this.


This fine happy league will charge Dolphins a first round pick for creating a hostile work environment.

I have defended Ireland to this point, but it is now obvious that he needs to go. Not only has he made one questionable football move after another, but he's filled the roster/coaching staff with weak-minded individuals.

I have defended Ireland to this point, but it is now obvious that he needs to go. Not only has he made one questionable football move after another, but he's filled the roster/coaching staff with weak-minded individuals.


Yeah Hernandez has yet to face trial, very true, but it doesn't look to good. Your point was stating that, the Pats would know about Hernandez hangin with criminals.

Well hangin with criminals, thats not a crime, but racism, bullying and extortion are.

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