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Starks' version of middle finger incident; Dolphins hire president, CEO

Couple quick Sunday night items, in the wake of the Dolphins' 23-10 win against Cleveland:

### A photographer captured a picture of Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks holding up his middle finger, while looking directly at the Dolphins sideline, after getting a sack Sunday. Two published reports speculated that Starks was giving the finger to the Dolphins' coaching staff because he lost his starting job.

Starks is denying that was the case.

Starks' agent, Tony Paige, said Starks "told me was joking with one of his teammates. It was not intended for the coaches."

What matters, in this case, is what Joe Philbin thinks after speaking with Starks about it. But since nobody can read Starks' mind or be certain of his intent, Philbin faces a difficult call in determining how to handle this.

Even if Philbin is convinced the gesture wasn't intended for coaches, a fine is still very possible,if not probable, because Philbin wants his players to comport themselves properly.

"Touched down safely -- time to get back to work tomorrow," Starks tweeted a couple of hours ago.

### Tom Garfinkel, who has served as a high-level executive for two Major League Baseball teams but has never worked in the NFL, will be the Dolphins’ new president and chief executive officer, several industry sources said Sunday.

An announcement will be made Monday.

Coincidentally, Garfinkel and his Dolphins predecessor, Mike Dee, ended up filling each other’s most recent jobs. Dee left the Dolphins last month to become president and CEO of the San Diego Padres --- the jobs Garfinkel held until he and the Padres new ownership group parted ways July 9.

Garfinkel will oversee the Dolphins’ business operations and figures to be heavily involved in Ross’ continued efforts to procure funding for renovations to Sun Life Stadium. He will be responsible for the organization’s overall budget but will not be involved in player selection.

Coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland will continue to report to owner Stephen Ross. The Dolphins, who considered more than 75 candidates for the CEO job, were impressed by Garfinkel’s intelligence, skills as a negotiator and knowledge of technology, among other things.

Garfinkel served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2006 to 2009 and then accompanied the man who hired him in Arizona, former agent Jeff Moorad, to San Diego, when Moorad signed an agreement to purchase the Padres on a layaway program that ultimately fell apart.

In San Diego, Garfinkel and the Padres ownership group reportedly had philosophical differences, which led to his departure. Before breaking into baseball, he spent five years as executive vice president of Chip Ganassi Racing, a motorsports organization.

He was considered accessible as Padres president and had a regular presence on social media. Among his accomplishments with the Padres: He helped negotiate a 20-year, $1 billion TV contract with Fox; oversaw changes to Petco Park, such as shortening the outfield fences; brought concerts, international soccer and other events to the ballpark; and outfitted Little League teams throughout the country in Padres uniforms.

Padres manager Bud Black called Garfinkel “very visible, very progressive, very creative. He was very visible around the ballpark and very active with the fan base. Tom was always asking what he could do for the club and players. He worked tremendously hard.”

Garfinkel grew up in Walnut Creek, Cal., graduated from Colorado and then attended the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at Michigan, named after the Dolphins owner, who donated $200 million to the university last week.

### The UM football team was ranked 15th in the AP poll released today -- UM's highest spot in the poll since 2010.

### If you haven't read the Sunday buzz, posted late last night, please check the last post. It has lots of Dolphins and a Heat signing.