Like I said on Monday, we're now smack dab in the middle of the "dead zone" in the NFL offseason. And also like I said on Monday, one of the things that will make news this time of the year is when one of your players have an off-field issue. Well what do you know? And the worst part? It's not even the player's fault.
But we'll get to that in a second. First up, let's talk about Thursday's "big announcement" - and I use that term loosely.
GLORIA AND EMILIO ESTEFAN BUY STAKE IN DOLPHINS
I quickly highlighted this development yesterday. But it seems to be getting a lot of play in the media so I thought I'd touch on it quickly again. The Dolphins will host a press conference on Thursday at Land Shark Stadium for a "major corporate announcement." We now know that this announcement will somehow be related to Gloria and Emilio Estefan becoming minority owners of the Miami Dolphins.
This shouldn't come as any surprise. Owner Stephen Ross has been looking to secure some investment money from minority owners for a while. He attempted to court Jimmy Buffett - but that ended with the Buffett-owned Land Shark Lager buying the naming rights to what was formerly known as Dolphin Stadium (and Pro Player Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium). We also know that Ross loves people from show-business and wants them to be involved with the Dolphins as much as possible - making gamedays "red carpet" events.
But here's my question. Will bringing aboard aging pop stars like Estefan and Buffett have any actual effect on the fans? Can you honestly tell me that Gloria Estefan is going to generate buzz for Dolphins football?
In my opinion, all this does - other than helping out Ross and his deep pockets - is make the Dolphins the butt of more jokes. We don't need "has-been" pop stars to attract fans to South Florida's most popular sports team. All we need is a winner. If the Dolphins win football games, people will take notice. And if the Dolphins win consistently, fans will fill the stadium regardless of who owns the team and what kind of entertainment is taking place at the stadium on gamedays.
Football is unlike any other sport. There are only eight regular season home games. This isn't baseball - where games tend to get lost in the shuffle of a 162-game season. This isn't basketball - where 41 home games allows fans to pick and choose which games, if any, they want to attend.
Cynics will point out that the stands haven't always been full as of late in Miami. But that's what happens when you endure a 1-win season. One 11-win season isn't going to instantly change everything. But a few consecutive winning seasons will have those seats packed each and every week. And bringing aboard aging celebrities isn't going to influence fans one way or another.
And let me say that I really hope Ross doesn't think that bringing aboard the Estefans is an effective way to reach out to South Florida's large Hispanic population. That would be simply ignorant thinking on Ross's part - and he's a bright person. So while the media might try to spin this move by Ross as a way to attract Hispanics, I'm not buying that.
But what many Dolphin fans are buying are tickets. However, it's not because of Jimmy Buffett, Gloria Estefan, or any other pointless celebrity that Ross might try to connect to the Dolphins. Instead, it's because the Dolphins are once again winning on the football field. That's all that matters.
MORE ON VONTAE DAVIS
As you know by now, Vontae Davis was reportedly arrested for driving without a valid license and for "unnecessary vehicular noise." And you also know that it's looking more and more like Davis wasn't the person who was actually arrested. To quickly recap, the arrest occurred on June 9 at 6:47 pm. But Davis was in Miami attending an OTA and a rookie symposium that kept Davis at the Dolphins' facilities until at least 3:30 pm - according to the team. The Dolphins also confirm that Davis was back at the team's facility on June 10 at 7 in the morning. Davis, himself, has also denied the allegations - saying he hasn't even been back to Champaign, Illinois since February. But he did have his wallet stolen before he left, which he did report and could explain this case of mistaken identity.
In fact, the original source of this report - The Daily Illini - has printed a bit of a retraction to fairly highlight Vontae's side of the story. And when all is said and done, this situation will likely be forgotten about pretty quickly. It wasn't a serious offense to begin with and now there's a pretty good chance it wasn't even Davis who was arrested.
Of course, part of me wishes it was Davis who was arrested. Why? Because that would mean the Dolphins drafted Houdini - or, at the least, somebody who can quite literally be in two places at once. Now that's a talent!
But this situation raises two key points. One - the Dolphins have stood by Vontae every step of the way as he attempts to clear his name. That says a lot right there, in my opinion.
And two - we live in a day and age where just about anything gets reported as news. This report from The Daily Illini - which should be ashamed that they were so quick to want to slander a former star athlete from their school - shouldn't even be news. The man wasn't arrested - he was issued a "notice to appear." This is also known as a "summons" - more commonly referred to as a "ticket." That's right - the paper thinks it's news if an athlete gets a damn ticket.
I don't even care if a family member gets a freakin' ticket. Why would I care if a player on my favorite team gets one? What has this world come to? Do we not have anything better to discuss than people getting traffic tickets?
So who gets the blame? The original source of the report, The Daily Illini, is at the top of the list. All of the South Florida newspaper also have to get some. After all, they did report this as a big news story when it really isn't. But at least the Sun-Sentinel did their leg work and got Vontae's and the Dolphins' side of the story. So kudos to them for at least doing their due diligence.
In the end, though, this is a perfect example of how the "smaller world" that's been created by the internet and all of the various technologies out there is not always a good thing. Back in the 1980s, for example, it's not likely that an athlete getting a traffic ticket would even be a blip on our radars.
Of course, there is a lesson to be learned here. And that lesson is that you can indeed get a ticket for "unnecessary vehicular noise." Who knew?