No, this isn't the end of this situation. As many of you may know, the Miami Dolphins played their first game after the scandal broke Monday night, and lost that game to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I'm sure we shared schadenfreude over that, but I don't think anyone was more gleeful about this than Bill Plaschke at the Los Angeles Times. I know we like stories like this about politicians we ridicule, but this article is something special which is why I'm writing this. As Plaschke writes,
Monday's victory by formerly winless Tampa Bay shows the bully has lost, and karma is winning.Below the Great Orange goalnetting for more.
This week, on one of the most delightful nights in the history of "Monday Night Football," the vulgar and abusive locker-room culture fostered by the Miami Dolphins was rendered appropriately incognito by the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 22-19 shaming.Delightful! There's a word you don't see in sportswriting that often.
You see, Plaschke was especially annoyed at the efforts of the Dolphins to cover for the bully, Richie Incognito. In case you haven't been paying attention, the Dolphin players have been trying to wriggle out of the situation from day 1. Plaschke even manages to indict Fox Sports for playing a part in this. Incognito was the star of a real softball interview on Fox Sports pregame show Sunday. You might have seen the headlines about his claim that he was really Jonathan Martin's best friend. Your skepticism was correct. To begin with, the guy on Fox who interviewed Incognito was Incognito's martial arts instructor. Here's Plaschke:
You have to wonder what Fox producer was bullied by Glazer to get it made. But in stories like these, perception is often reality.Right. And yes, it seemed that going into the game the bullying side was winning. But, as I think many of us remember from Chris Berman's highlight shows on ESPN,
THAT'S WHY THEY PLAY THE GAMES.And what happened?
The Incognito sycophants on the offensive line were such tough run blockers against the Bucs, the Dolphins' offense gained a total of two yards rushing. Two yards! It was the most pathetic rushing display in franchise history, which was humiliating even for a team missing starting linemen Martin and Incognito.The schadenfreude is thick here.
Before the game, the story line was about how the team would rally around the memory of their sturdy leader Incognito. But this once again showed bullies never bring groups together, they tear them apart.But, really. Football here isn't what this story is about. Football is involved because that's where this happened. Here's Plaschke again:
Tyson Clabo, the Dolphins tackle who blamed the issue on Martin, was steamrollered. Brian Hartline, the wide receiver who basically said Martin couldn't take a joke, caught only a handful of passes and wasn't a factor. Philbin, the coach who incredulously said he didn't know anything about the bullying, spent three hours looking as if a couple of playground toughs were giving him a wedgie.
This story was never about football, was it? It was always about the sort of harassment that occurs in every workplace. Everyone, it seems, has encountered a bully somewhere. Everyone has probably been occasionally overwhelmed by some poor insecure soul who builds self-esteem through crude taunts and bellicose tests, a lout who creates a world of conflict and demands that co-workers either play along or be branded as weak.And the result is that eventually the bully loses. Isn't it great when that happens on a public stage, like Monday Night Football?
I will never doubt the ability of sportswriters to provide me with "diary me" moments ever again. Yes, this story still has some playing out to do, and the NFL has some responsibilities here, but they will be an afterthought, because the games themselves have provided an answer. Karma can be a bitch, can't it.