Ben Volin's Tidbits
With the situation in Miami shining a light on the boorish and immature behavior that can be common in NFL locker rooms, an interesting change could be coming that could penalize players for vulgar language on the field.
Specifically, the competition committee will review and potentially enact a rule at the owners’ meetings next month that would penalize a player 15 yards for using the N-word on the field.
John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a minority coalition, is pushing for the change.
"I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do," Wooten told CBSSports.com. "We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere."
I think it is silly that the NFL is going to try to police this. I don't condone the language, but it is going to be nearly impossible to stop the language on the field.
Much has been made about coach Joe Philbin throwing offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O’Neill, both fired on Wednesday, under the bus to keep his job.
But give Philbin credit for quietly fighting for Turner behind the scenes. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to fire Turner with cause, but Philbin successfully fought for Turner to receive two years of salary as severance pay. Turner, a Braintree native and former coach at Boston College, Northeastern, and Harvard, had recently signed a contract extension.
O’Neill was fired in Indianapolis last week after traveling with the Dolphins’ delegation, and was supposed to receive a prestigious award as the best athletic trainer in the nation on Friday. He was actually pulled out of a presentation he was giving to other trainers about how to handle a situation like the Martin-Incognito one when he was fired, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
I think the evidence is mounting to show that the NFL forced the Dolphins to fire both Jim Turner and Kevin O'Neill because of their "lack of cooperation" with Ted Wells during the investigation. It's good that Joe fought to get severance pay for Jim Turner, and while their is no report of it, I'm sure he probably got Kevin O'Neill severance pay as well.
One team source said that attorney Ted Wells, whose 144-page report on the situation was released nine days ago, was fairly dismissive of any team employee who showed support toward Incognito in their interviews with Wells. Assistant trainer Naohisa Inoue insisted repeatedly with Wells that he didn’t feel like he was the victim of bullying and racism. The much-publicized incident of Incognito, Mike Pouncey, and others wearing traditional Japanese headbands on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor was overblown, the source insisted — it was Inoue who gave the players those headbands that very morning.
It's amazing how this tidbit did not get into the report. It is becoming more and more obvious that this report was shaped the way the NFL wanted it to be shaped. This report was written the way it was to protect the NFL from a lawsuit and to give the impression that major changes are going to happen league wide.
Team officials never knew how much the pranks bothered Martin, as he was a willing participant in many of them, as well.
The tipping point for Martin allegedly was a cafeteria prank in which several players stood up from the table when Martin sat down. He slammed his tray on the ground, left the facility, and checked into a hospital for psychological treatment shortly thereafter.
Sources tell us that Martin not only often participated in that prank himself — he once did it to Philbin.
Two things here. First, this doesn't sound like a situation where the players on the team and the coach are not in touch with one another. Another example of this is Joe beating Brent Grimes at ping pong. Second, it gives more credence to the fact that no one knew how Martin was internalizing this stuff because he never told anyone. I wonder why Ted Wells didn't make anything out of Martin not telling anyone his problems/issues?
One source estimated that Martin has a "zero percent chance" of ever playing for the Dolphins again, as the players, coaches, and staff have too much resentment toward him for the way he handled this situation and cost people their jobs. The source doubted that any NFL team would sign him, though we think a team may be willing to take a flier on him for a minimum salary.
"If you were a GM, would you trust him as your left tackle?" the source said.
Interesting. I think this is the general opinion league wide. Jonathan Martin didn't handle himself properly, and this is the root of the issue. Everything else has been overblown. I think this is also why you are seeing teams ask prospects how they would have handled Incognito had they been in Martin's shoes. Teams want to make sure they aren't getting another Jonathan Martin.
It's amazing the tidbits you will get from someone who doesn't have an agenda they are pushing. The local media has painted Miami as a picture of organizational dysfunction and incompetence when the team was 8-8 and controlled their own destiny at the end of the season. They didn't win the games they needed to win, but sometimes, the ball just doesn't bounce your way and there isn't much you can do to control that. I think there were clearly some maturity issues with the team, as the Dolphins are one of the younger teams in the league. They need some locker room leaders to step up and let certain players know that there is a line that can be crossed and not to cross it. I don't think we had that in this locker room, but this situation shouldn't be blamed on that. I think with an increased maturity level, the team probably doesn't falter in both games down the stretch.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.