Since Jonathan Martin went to Stanford and is therefore under this site’s jurisdiction, it seemed like a good time for some quick thoughts on the matter that won’t include any stories about standing up to bullies or how Martin was the “perfect victim” for Richie Incognito. Incognito’s career is effectively over, and hopefully Martin can find a way to get through this awful situation as a human being first and football player second.
The tide of public opinion is swaying a bit, transitioning from focusing completely on the evilness of Incognito (which is undeniable) and toward inept Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. But we should look even higher on the Dolphins food chain than Philbin, up to the chum bucket that sits in the owner’s suite.
Here’s what we now know:
— We have more than enough evidence based on past history and the Schefter Voicemail (unfair title, but that’s how this will be remembered) to determine that Dick Incognito is a raving lunatic.
— Miami’s coaching staff thought Dick was just the perfect raving lunatic to scare Martin into attending every single “voluntary” workout the team schedules.
Sources say that communication took place when Martin skipped two days of the team’s OTA program, and Incognito was encouraged by his coaches to make a call that would “get him into the fold,” one source said.
Even though OTA workouts are voluntary, the NFL culture forces coaches to strong arm the team’s leaders to make sure everyone attends. Sources say Incognito was doing his job, but they admit he crossed the line.
— Dick Incognito would be an excellent porn name, if it hasn’t been used already.
— Don’t do a Google search to find out whether there’s a porn star named Dick Incognito. Just trust me.
— Philbin knew Martin didn’t attend the OTAs. He was surely upset that Martin didn’t attend the OTAs, or none of the other coaches or players would’ve cared either. Philbin either directly or implicitly gave orders to his subordinates to make sure Martin felt some sort of repercussions for his absences. Those responsibilities fell mostly on Incognito (who probably had help from others, not that anyone seems to care about that right now).
— Anyone who watched “Hard Knocks” last season knows that Philbin is ineffectual to the point of worthlessness. Philbin is the quintessential “career coordinator.”
— Philbin was hired by Stephen M. Ross.
— Ross became principal owner of the Miami Dolphins in 2009. The Dolphins have not had a winning season since (they’re currently 4-4).
— Ross tried to sign Jim Harbaugh before the 2011 season and failed, so he kept Tony Sparano on as head coach. Sparano was fired after the Dolphins went 4-9 through the first 14 weeks of his lame duck season.
— In August I saw Harbaugh dive between C.J. Spillman and Michael Thomas to break up a fight between the two safeties during a training camp practice. I asked Harbaugh about it the next day.
“I think it’s something that has no place during practice or training camp,” he said.
— During a June 2012 Dolphins minicamp, this happened:
Two offensive line vs. defensive line fights broke out in the Dolphins’ minicamp practice today, with Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel identifying Jake Long vs. Olivier Vernon and Richie Incognito vs.Ryan Baker as the two bouts on today’s fight card.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said afterward that he wasn’t pleased, not because of any concern that the league office could get involved, but because he wants players who are smart enough to avoid personal foul penalties.
“I wasn’t very happy we lost two players in a drill,” Philbin said, via the Palm Beach Post. “That can be a critical time in a game. You have to be able to keep your poise and play. It’s great to be tough, it’s great to be physical. . . . It’s 15 yards, loss of down, clock, all those things. So yeah, there was good competitiveness, but you’ve got to be smart.”
Great hire, Ross.
— After all that occurred in the days prior, here’s part of what Philbin said yesterday during one of the lamest press conferences ever, a media gathering where absolutely nothing was accomplished beyond further proving Philbin is a leader in name and paycheck only.
Our owner, Steve Ross who has been involved throughout the entire process, contacted the commissioner, Roger Goodell, and requested that the NFL become involved and conduct a review of the workplace. We issued a second statement noting we had received information that we were taking very seriously and that we were gathering information on. Throughout the course of the day, we gathered more and more information. At the end of the day, I decided to suspend Richie Incognito based on the information I had at that time. The NFL is going to conduct a review of the workplace. It’s going to be comprehensive. It’s going to be objective, and we are going to give as an organization our full and complete co-operation with the NFL. That’s really where things are as of today.
(On if he personally had any idea incidents were going on) – “Again, I want to make clear this. My focus right now is on the men in the locker room, preparing our football team to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will give my full and complete and total corporation with the NFL. When that takes place, the timeline on that I don’t have the specifics of. I will tell you I will be in full and complete co-operation with them. I will answer everything honestly to the best of my knowledge. But what I would like to make sure what everybody understands is that there are not going to be comments during the course of this investigation until we get all of the information and we come together on that information.”
Translation: “I’m not going to say anything. Even though I’m the head coach and either I had a good idea of what was going down or should’ve known what was happening on my watch, this is now an NFL matter. I’m just here to prepare to face one of the other pathetic NFL franchises in the state of Florida, no more and no less. Oh, and Ross is the guy in charge if you didn’t know that already.”
— Dolphins fans are not exactly cursed, because their franchise has had 29 winning seasons in the 39 years before Ross took over, but they’re in a bad place right now. Their favorite team’s celebrity-obsessed owner has spent the last five years running this once-proud franchise into the ground, and he’s only just begun.