The investigation into the bullying Jonathan Martin suffered at the hands of Richie Incognito and other teammates on the Miami Dolphins is still underway. However, the Martin saga has brought to light enough information on a partially related matter to demand that head coach Joe Philbin be fired. As a result of information that has come to light since the Martin investigation began, it is clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Philbin condones behavior that is degrading to women.
On Thursday, WPLG in Miami revealed that during the Dolphins' 2012 celebrity golf tournament, a drunken Incognito harassed a female volunteer at the Turnberry Island Resort and Club, where the tourney took place. He rubbed her private parts with a golf club, pressed his private parts against her buttocks and dumped water on her. After waiting for Incognito to apologize to her, the woman filed a police report, but the matter was settled after she signed a confidentiality agreement. Yesterday, Philbin said that the Dolphins were aware of the incident and had taken "immediate action."
We already know, however, that said action was outrageously inadequate. Incognito started all 16 games of the 2012 season. No professional sports team that doesn't have its head up its collective ass would tolerate this. On just about any other team, a player who engaged in this behavior would have been suspended and told that a repeat occurrence would result in him being released. Given Incognito's history of bad behavior (dating back to his days at Nebraska), the Dolphins should have released him on the spot--do not pass "Go," do not collect $200. This was Philbin's first test as a head coach--he'd just been hired a few months earlier. And he failed miserably.
Then the next day, it was revealed that Incognito held mandatory meetings for his colleagues on the O-line at a strip club. If they didn't attend, Incognito would fine them in kangaroo court and mock them for not being part of the unit. Never mind if the players were married, were deeply religious, or for any other reason felt that women should be respected. Philbin had to have known about this--or at the very least should have made it his business to know.
Seen in this light, it's hard to blame Martin for not speaking up more or sooner about what was going on. Here's a guy who was raised from the time he could crawl to treat women right. Now he finds out he has a coach who seems to condone this kind of debauched behavior. If I were Martin, I'd be wondering, "I'm supposed to trust this guy?"
Jason Whitlock was probably on target when he described the atmosphere in the Dolphins locker room as something akin to a prison yard. That kind of atmosphere, though, is not acceptable on any professional team. Philbin needs to go, and go soon. Otherwise, the Dolphins will be telling nearly every young player from peewee on up that they can degrade women and get away with it.
2:50 PM PT: Apparently Dolphins owner Stephen Ross isn't as dense as it first seems. NFL Network's Michael Silver said earlier today that Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland are likely goners after the season. (h/t to dougymi)