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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.

Comments

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Just so that you are aware, the comments posted on here by "rick" are really from Incognito.

Apparently, he is just staying true to form.

This guy must be he dumbest fukkk the World has ever conceived up to now. Taking on a bi-Racial guy with both parents from Harvard just like our President is now. He should be cut immediately, not for racist, but for being dumb.

Ireland is known for being a bully himself, so no wonder Incognito is a team-favorite.

I really find hard to believe that Philbin and Ireland would allow players to extort other players!

If it is found that coaches have extorted players then it is going to be worse than I ever could of imagined!

could've

Marco=RI

Bane.

It's on already. Christmas has come early for those of us that want inept coaches, incompetent GM's and racist apologists out of the Miami Dolphins.

Oscar. Your a very clever boy.

You can tell that Marco is pro-Obama. I mean, nothing wrong in that.

Again your right. Oscar the mind reader. Are you done debating the biggest shcokwave to hit the club since Ricky's retirement ? Come on Man !!!

Oh, I've always been so. I just can't spend too much time on this nonsense. Hey, Mark, those compatriots of yours that are in jail now were also "bitten" in a good way. You didn't do any thing wrong, did you?

www.DolphinsTruth.com

Dolphins Truth today has a good point about if Philbin is overreacting. Why punish the entire franchise by suspending our toughest lineman?

Hey Oscar now you've worked out Im really Ritchie Incognito and fund Obama at the elections. Tell us what you do with Philbin and Ireland if it comes out they knew about the allegations all along ?

If you want to extend this, We certainly can help you do it. You tell Us.

Extend this, ha ha. What a joker. I think this will extend quite nicely as it is my friend.

Oh I'd bin Philbin and Ireland.

Thats why I stated once that a good, reputable head coach will not come here if Ireland is in charge. Period
everyone in the NFL knows who he is except ROSS! This is some crazy chit going on here, We are not being entertained by football, but we do have a good soap opera going on here... to be continued.

Martin may just be crazy ... like a fox. Parents are lawyers. He considered Harvard law. Take a bunch of crap from Incognito, play along but don't leave a digital trail ... Then, flip out, claim emotional distress, go to treatment then sue Incognito, the Dolphins and the NFL for tens of millions of dollars. Go to Harvard, practice law, write an expose and live happily and wealthy ever after.

Our leaders are not only incompetent at their jobs building and coaching a winning football team,they talk about cancers needing to be removed from the team,AKA b.marshall,v.davis,ect. they have no clue about what is going on within their team which they are being paid very well to do.Joe philbin has no communication skills with us the fans and does not deserve our support.Dear mr.ross please clean house again we are used to it.eventually you might get lucky.very disappointed in our season.

This has been going on in the NFL since the beginning, Rookies are always harassed, its just the way it is right or wrong. But that is not realy the point of Mando's question. I will say "yes", any coach or coaches for that matter who have control of a team/locker room can not honestly sit back and say they had no idea. Impossible! and IF (that's a big IF) they did not know Then they should no longer be coaches for this or any other franchise. As a coach you have to have a certain amount of control of things going on in your own facilities.

Maybe Phins' brass did know about it back in April, had a sit down to correct it and Incognito agreed he would fix things until recently. One approach in leadership is appointing those vets, like Incognito, leadership roles so that they fall in line more with the type of culture you want to create. It empowers them and gets them to take accountability for their own actions. This strategy often works and obviously some people still screw it up. Those players and staff who are unwilling or don't believe in what their brass are trying to create get let go or traded (Johnson, Marshall, Davis). Those who don't fit into their long term strategy don't become a priority (Bush, Long, Smith.)

Posted by: Nick Z | November 04, 2013 at 02:26 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself. Good post!

Nick Z: That's a remote possibility. But, what a ridiculous attempt to solve a serious problem...if true. RI thrives on the weak and in weak-led environment. Philbin is weak and petty (focusing on littering and untied shoe laces). He reads 'inspirational speeches' from index cards. I'm not convinced the players fear or more importantly respect him. Ireland they probably fear but don't respect.

IF (GM and Philbin) they knew about RI's harassment (clearly they did to some extent) and had direct conversations with Martin, and THIS was their solution to try and use reverse psychology on a lifer bully --- they're done.

Frankly, Ross should view this as the FINAL STRAW and chop the heads off of the whole thing: Ireland, Aponte and Philbin. Why? Because they have each demonstrated that they suck at their jobs.

Keith, with regards to Philbin overreacting, I believe the reason they were so quick to act at all is because the Dolphins seemed to play much better with Garner in and Richie out during Bengals game.
They were confident that there would not be a dropoff by cutting RI loose.
Depth, however is another discussion.

Adios RIchie..........Can't believe anything out of Philbin's mouth. He knew, no balls. Get rid of all of them. It is really is the answer to this striving for mediocrity team anyways. Thanks Martin.

Get a real coach and OC, maybe even a new GM. Marino for president

Thank you, Mando. Keep it coming. I fully support whatever it takes to revitalize this organization back to integrity and accountability. No-matter what.

Good question! I think we all have the same questions. I cannot believe this goes on without management knowing about the problem?

Chris - Why bring Aponte into this? She is not involved in the capacity that Ireland and the coaching staff is. Dawn has done a phenomenal job on the cap this past year, and with the structure of many contracts, setting the Fins up for future moves.

I don't condone harassment in any work environment. The winning formula for successful teams is all about lifting each other up, not bringing them down. This fraternity hazing culture in football has to change, and has definitely given the NFL another black eye and therefore got the attention of Mr. Goodell. Maybe this will set off a major shift in the NFL.

Mando - last I checked, Martin was not a rookie. Why is he still being harassed, especially earlier this year when he was reportedly forced to pay for a trip to Vegas that he did not even attend?

I am not siding with anyone who wants heads to roll just yet - let's let this process play out with the League, not through the media. Yes - the Dolphin organization needs men of high moral character, not dissension caused by a bunch of clowns. We will find out if there are any (more) idiots that need to be purged from this organization soon enough.

Meanwhile, with all the circus around them, will this team be "ready for some football" Monday night?

I think it's safe to say Philbin was aware of this. Even if he alleges he didn't he still merits being fired for being oblivious to it. If he isn't fired this season Ross's mental health should come under question.

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