Sometimes a politically correct climate forces right-thinking people to keep quiet or not act and speak as they believe so as to simply avoid a backlash from the herd.
For whatever reasons, the Dolphins have been doing some of this recently.
The politically correct issue the team is dealing with is the idea of workplace conduct. It is a pet topic for the NFL now because of the Dolphins' harassment scandal, because of racially charged exchanges between players and between players and game officials, and because of the fact a player, Michael Sam, has announced himself as being gay, and so his inclusion into a locker room without any reproach is vital to the NFL.
But here's the thing: In trying to not offend and be inclusive and embracing relativism over what is simply right and wrong, the NFL is also asking us to at times suspend knowledge of what we know to be the truth.
The Dolphins are never, ever, ever, ever going to let Richie Incognito return to their team. He had a terrible effect on the locker room, as evidenced by the Wells Report, and he's got some sad and troubling emotional issues he must clear up.
But are the Dolphins saying this?
Someone has concocted marching orders to everyone in the organization that rather than plainly say what is true -- that the Dolphins have decided to go in another direction with Incognito -- the team is hiding behind the veil of free agency so as to not say what is obvious.
"I only want to talk about people on our roster," owner Stephen Ross said Tuesday when asked if Incognito had any shot of returning to the team. "As you know, he's a free agent and we'll sign those people who will better our team and make us a better football team."
The craziness of this? Ross himself two months ago, at the press conference to introduce Dennis Hickey as the general manager, said Incognito wasn't coming back. (He also said Jonathan Martin wasn't coming back and he's since been traded.)
So why the softening of a stance that doesn't merit softening? I mean, is Incognito going to sue the Dolphins if they make a business decision not to re-sign him? No. Are fans going to be up in arms if the team says the man most prominently named as an antagonist in the Wells Report isn't coming back? No. Fans mostly care about who is replacing Incognito.
Yet, the Dolphins have gone limp on their response. Hickey gave the same answer on Incognito, not wanting to address the guard's status because he's no longer under contract. But in the same presser he address tight end Dustin Keller, who also is not under contract.
Why walk on eggshells?
Then there's the question of Mike Pouncey. He also is named in the Wells Report. He also participated in the alleged harassment of Martin, according to the report. Indeed, in the report Pouncey said his best friends on the team were Incognito and John Jerry, the third primary Martin antagonist named in the report.
Pouncey must also submit to that "medical evaluation" commissioner Roger Goodell talked about as being necessary before the three players can participate in the 2014 season.
Well, Jerry is gone in free agency. Incognito isn't coming back (despite Miami's newfound mumbo-jumbo on the matter). But Pouncey is definitely going to continue with the Dolphins and indeed his future with the team is bright.
Pouncey is considered a team leader. When the Dolphins signed Branden Albert, they invited two players to a dinner to celebrate the moment. Those two players are quarterback Ryan Tannehill and ... Mike Pouncey.
Bottom line: The Dolphins see Pouncey as a candidate for rehabilitation from the harassment scandal while Incognito and Jerry were as tumors that needed to be removed. Indeed, Ross painted Pouncey as something of a victim himself.
"I think everybody could look back and reflect. We all get caught up with certain things and you go with it," Ross said.
But can we get away from the PC stuff here and get to the crux of the matter? You know why Pouncey is still in good standing with the organization while the other instigators of the harassment and even Martin as the "victim" were dispatched?
Because Mike Pouncey is an outstanding NFL players. And the other guys really weren't.
Pouncey is 24 years old. He's got a great future ahead of him. He's bound to get better. And the Dolphins would be silly to get rid of him. Period.
That is the reason he's sticking around despite what the Wells Report alleged.
Yet the Dolphins are still tap dancing around this fact. When asked Tuesday if the team would excersise its option in May to add a fifth year to Pouncey's contract, coach Joe Philbin said the issue had not been discussed.
You have a Pro Bowl player on the roster entering the final year of his contract and you can extend it by one year because that is your option under the collective bargaining agreement, and the idea hasn't been floated internally?
We're supposed to buy that?
The Dolphins not only will use the option on Pouncey but they're going to have to extend Pouncey's contract to keep him on the team.
But alas, political correctness prohibits the team from saying so right now as the NFL talks of "medical evalations" and locker room respect, perhaps because it might look like Miami is embracing one of the so-called bullies in the Wells Report.
I say we cut through the PC stuff and call it how it is.
Mike Pouncey stays because he's good. Richie Incognito isnt coming back because he's troubled and caused trouble. The Dolphins will use the option year on Pouncey because, altogether now, he's good. John Jerry went because he's not that good.
See how much easier all that is?