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ProFootball Talk Amends Key Report: Jeff Ireland's Allegedly Bad Advice Came AFTER Martin Left

The initial report has been corrected a bit...and a note on the importance of not jumping the gun on reporting news.

This guy is many things, but a liar is not one of them
This guy is many things, but a liar is not one of them
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Late last night, ProFootball Talk published an article claiming Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland received a call directly from Jonathan Martin's agent detailing Richie Incognito's allegedly harassing behavior before Martin left the team on October 28th to seek treatment. Per that article, Ireland suggested that Martin deal with the situation by physically confronting Incognito. If that report were completely accurate, there were 3 serious consequences.

First, that report would have contradicted the Dolphins' official press release claiming that no one in the front office had any idea Martin was disturbed by Incognito's behavior towards him until he went AWOL.

Second, that would imply that coach Joe Philbin, when he went before the media's cameras to deny knowledge of the alleged bullying before Martin fled the team, either knew about the agent's phone call and intentionally lied or was an unknowing patsy for Ireland (who might not have told the coach about the call).

Third, it implied that Ireland probably should shy away from offering any confrontation management seminars in the future. If one Dolphins player gets into a potentially serious physical altercation with another Dolphins player, I can only think of ways that could backfire...
If either one gets physically hurt, the Dolphins would be down at least one offensive linemen on gameday due to injury.
If either one refuses to let bygones be bygones afterwards, you have two offensive linemen who hate/distrust each other being forced to play side by side for 8 more weeks (at least). That hurts chemistry.
And last, if the fight became serious enough, you run the risk of at least one player filing assault charges...maybe even a lawsuit later that mentions Ireland's pre-fight "advice." So that type of advice is irresponsible for the General Manager of a professional sports team to give out, even if he was trying to be funny.

So there were 3 very serious implications of that original report. The Dolphins had put out a false official statement to the media. Joe Philbin was either complicit in the deception or was being used by our duplicitous general manager. Last, our GM gave frankly dumb advice.

That article was on the front page of ProFootball Talk, and eventually CBS News and ESPN both ran the story. However, that story was not covered by the Phinsider because ONLY Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk was reporting that information directly. CBS News and ESPN both said their "reports" on the issue were completely based on Florio's report. That meant no other news organization had verified that information for themselves. Well, there have been a lot of reports issued in this saga that have been at least partially retracted or later corrected, and this is no exception.

If you click on that article NOW, at the very bottom, you'll notice a paragraph detailing corrections. Let's go over them one by one.

UPDATE 11:04 a.m. ET 11/7/13:  A prior version of this story identified the agent as Rick Smith.  It was Kenny Zuckerman, who works with Smith at the same firm.

Interesting. So the name of the agent who talked to Ireland was incorrect initially. Ideally, you'd get the names right the first time, but from fan perspective, that doesn't change much, unless some of you know the agents involved.

So, what other minor correction did they have to include?

Also, a prior version of this story characterized the call as happening before Martin left the team.  The call happened after Martin left.


So the first correction they chose to mention was the name of the agents involved. That was the important one to mention first. The second correction?

Also, a prior version of this story characterized the call as happening before Martin left the team.  The call happened after Martin left.


Erm, that's a big deal. The call happening AFTER Martin left changes a lot. First, that no longer necessarily contradicts either the Dolphins' official press statements or Philbin's words on the matter. That minor edit changed the narrative from, "The Dolphins organization, including Joe Philbin, definitely lied about what they knew" to "They could still be telling the truth." That's notable since some media types had already jumped on the, "The Dolphins are lying" angle based on Florio's report, including a local beat reporter (who hasn't corrected his blogpost citing Florio's report yet as of 3:35 p.m. on 11/7).

However, in fairness to that beat reporter, it's not easy to notice the correction. The correction was made at 11 a.m. today, yet the article is no longer on the front page of ProFootball Talk since that "slight correction" apparently wasn't worthy of keeping the article on the front page for a few more hours.

Because the story was picked up by multiple other local and national news services, and because the correction could easily remain under the radar, I've decided to publish this quickly-written rant to hopefully help stop misinformation from spreading. In case you, like many thousands of people, read that article earlier today convinced that it was evidence the Dolphins have been lying, consider this your notice that the story has been "corrected" a teensy-weensy bit. The report may or may not be true, since yet again, nobody else has picked up on the scoop, but one key detail was slightly changed (and I'm not talking about the agents' names).

One last note - as I wrote, the original report had 3 implications. The first two involved the Dolphins organization as a whole and then Joe Philbin individually making misleading statements. Those two implications no longer hold merit. The last implication - that it's stupid advice for a GM to give - still is true.

There are special people in this world who are described as "magnetic," meaning others feel comfortable around them and are drawn to them. These particular people are generally popular and beloved, and whenever others talk about them, phrases like, "Class act" or "Amazing individual" are used to describe them.

It's become clear over the past 5 years that Jeff Ireland is not one of those special people - and that's okay. Many folks, including myself, fall well short of that standard. Ireland is a jerk - we knew that before Sage Rosenfels went on a Twitter rant about him today. However, there are a lot of jerks in business, and that's acceptable if they do their job well. Ireland was able to sign a wishlist of free agents last offseason despite being a jerk. As a fan, I don't need Ireland to be nice - I need Ireland to behave ethically (by not breaking the law or lying to fans) and help build a winner. In this case, Ireland has not been proven to be a liar - he almost certainly (unless yet another report comes out tomorrow) didn't know about this issue until last week. We'll have to wait and see over the next 8 games whether Ireland helped build a winner this year.

Last, if this report is true (and the late correction leaves me with some doubts about that), a GM advising the agent of a player to tell his client to physically fight another one of the team's players is stupid. That's a fair complaint.

4 more days until the Dolphins play a football game.