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Last night, the Miami Dolphins announced the first firings since the release of a report detailing a disgusting pattern of bullying both inside and outside the locker room--one that led offensive lineman Jonathan Martin to leave the team in the middle of the season.  Martin's position coach, Jim Turner, and longtime head trainer Kevin O'Neill were both shown the door.

The decisions were made by team owner Stephen Ross, who had spent the past few days deliberating. O’Neill was not informed until he arrived at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis because Ross wasn’t ready to make a decision before then.

Turner had not accompanied the staff to Indianapolis.

“The language and behavior as described in the Ted Wells report are against the core values of our organization,” Ross said in a statement. “After receiving the report, I conducted my own internal review of the facts to determine the appropriate steps for our organization.

“Jim Turner and Kevin O'Neill are good people who care a great deal about their profession and the players whom they serve, but both exhibited poor judgment at times which led me to this conclusion. … This is an opportunity and a teaching moment not only for the coaches, staff and players in our locker room, but also for participants throughout sports.”

Turner, for those who don't know, knew about how Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry were tormenting some of their teammates and did nothing.  Even worse, he actually took part in it on two occasions.  He not only encouraged Martin to make nice with Incognito, but took part in gay-baiting another lineman, Andrew McDonald.  He didn't help his cause by lying during the interview.  Turner didn't help his cause by lying during the interview.  O'Neill did nothing to stop the bullying of Martin and one of his assistant trainers, and even laughed along on both occasions.

For now, it looks like head coach Joe Philbin still has a job.  In his first full-fledged press conference since the release of the report, Philbin took responsibility for the scandal.  He also said that the Dolphins are working with the NFL on disciplining those involved.  However, it doesn't take rocket science to know that Incognito, who will become a free agent on March 11, won't ever play another down in Miami again--and that his NFL career is very much on life support.

However, two things bother me about Philbin's role.  One is that he didn't make it his business to know, especially since the standard head coach's contract requires him to supervise his assistants.  The second is the fact he didn't make Incognito sit out any games for harassing a woman at the team's 2012 celebrity golf tournament.  While to his credit he pressed to have Incognito released after that incident, it makes no sense that Philbin didn't sit him for a few games to start the 2012 season.  Still, it is pretty telling that the decision to fire Turner was made by Ross, not Philbin.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just a side show by the Fins (7+ / 0-)

    Otherwise Pouncey would be shown the door.  But he won't be as he is too good an OL (Offensive Lineman). Same reason why Incognito wasn't released for the 2012 incident.  The assistant coaches are easy to replace, as such the Fins put on a sideshow.  Unless a full housecleaning is done, it is all just BS.

    And why is the HC (Head Coach) still there?  He should know everything that goes on, but apparently was clueless (failing in job duties) and for some what is sadly worse is his bad record as a HC!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:36:42 PM PST

  •  Incognito is still on the team. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Philbin should be suspended for a least a year (5+ / 0-)

    Because he should have known.

    NFL locker rooms are work places. They aren't an exception.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:40:05 PM PST

    •  That was the reasoning (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PinHole, a2nite, Silvia Nightshade

      behind Sean Payton's  year's suspension after Bountygate in New Orleans -- though there was no evidence he was directly involved, as the head coach he's ultimately responsible for the behavior of his assistants. That could set a precedent for the league to take action against Philbin if the Dolphins don't.

      Personally I think they need a clean slate and Philbin should be fired. Wouldn't want him in the college ranks though, unless he was some really low-level coach with a lot of supervision till he could prove himself again.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 03:49:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The owner needs to be gone too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, mungley, trumpeter

    Ross is a trash human being. His meddling in elections in Florida has been horrible.

  •  It's about time they did something. Any other (7+ / 0-)

    modern large corporate workplace would never tolerate the reported level of these abuses.

    Many of the comments by coaches, players, and even some in the media, in the first week, were discouraging as they seemed imbued with a sense of entitlement -- as if they were saying "this is NFL football, we're the best of the best, and the rules that apply to everyone else are obviously waived for us in our "transcendental" pursuit of football excellence."

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:48:35 PM PST

  •  Philbin's a good man. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC

    He should not go down for this. Martin never said anything to him.

  •  Did anyone read the e-mail/texts that martin was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sending and responding to with Incognito.?  He used much of the same language that he was complaining about.  Even after he left the team, he was communicating in a friendly way with Incognito, and only stopped after his lawyers told him to.  Also, I still haven't heard one player from that locker room support Martin.  Many/most still support Incognito.  I honestly believe that if any locker room in the NFL was investigated very similar findings would come out.  Many players from many teams have stated as much.  This, to me, is very similar to the "bounty gate" story from New Orleans.  The same things get said in every locker room in the NFL, but when we hear about it, everyone acts surprised.

    I'm not condoning what occurred/what probably continues to occur in NFL locker rooms.  But for no one to see Martins words and actions and a precedent setting history in the NFL of improper norms as partly responsible seems to be willfully blind.  

    Incognito and others are bullies, but Martin wasn't a passive victim simply trying to quietly play football.  It will be very interesting to see if any team would want him in their locker room after this season.

    •  Ever hear of "go along to get along"? (6+ / 0-)

      A lot of bullied folks will play along, in the hopes that the bully will lay off and find a new target. But eventually it reaches a breaking point -- whether that breaking point was when Incognito and the others started talking about "running a train" (gang rape) on Martin's sister or if it was something else that was the last straw, I don't know.

      And when that locker room behavior extends to other team employees, such as the assistant trainer, that's where it really crosses the line.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 03:54:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, if I'm some dumb meathead and continue to (0+ / 0-)

        use inappropriate language, yet you go along to get along and even participate by using the same inappropriate language, I should understand what I'm doing is wrong?  Incognito is a fool.  But he has basically lived in the environment for years.  he didn't see what he was doing as bullying.  Martin, for whatever reasons, played along and joined him in juvenile behavior.  Martin never told Incognito (or other team members) he was being bullied.  I would ask again; how would a fool like Incognito, who was following some bullshit macho code that he learned over time to be acceptable, know he was causing Martin issues when Martin was playing along the entire time.  I think it was Martin who texted he was going to come to Incognito's house and kill him (which both Martin and Incognito took as a joke).  My point is Martin played a part in this entire affair.

    •  I can see Incognito getting picked up by another (0+ / 0-)

      team, but Martin?  Doubtful.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:29:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My only problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC

    with this diary is the quibble with Philbin for not suspending Incognito back in 2012.  Philbin tried to cut the guy and the GM overruled him. If you try to take action against an offender and get overruled by your boss, you're probably not going to try again if you want to keep your job.  Maybe Philbin should have quit at that point, but if you've worked your whole life to try and get your "dream job" would you quit? I don't think most here would.  

    I guess I do have a second issue. I don't agree that Incognito's career is on life support. Mark my words, some team will sign him before next season concludes. And Martin will never play in the league again. I'm calling it now.  It sucks, and is really unfair to Martin, but the reality is, Martin is not a very good lineman, while Incognito is a solid player.  Someone will absolutely pick him up.

    •  Martin was an Outland Trophy finalist in D1 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fl1972, a2nite, Silvia Nightshade, pdkesq

      football at Stanford under Harbough -- now a reasonably good NFL coach who has vouched for Martin's pro talent and ability.

      Moreover, Martin clearly has the size, speed and smarts that Miami needs to implement the Zone Blocking Scheme that it has been trying to do for several years now.  Ironically, it is Incognito and Jerry who can't do much more than man up in the traditional power blocking scheme.  Even with that skill set, both his age and locker room baggage will tend to lead teams to other alternatives ... who do abound if in desperate need.

      If you want to learn some of the Xs and Os about the ZBS ... the Seahawks to it reasonably well and their fan blog has a fairly good recent write-up:

      If he wants to play, Martin would probably be a pretty good ZBS player ... who could handle multiple O-line position responsibilities.

      •  krap ... here's the Field Gulls link: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fl1972, Silvia Nightshade

        My first link above is obviously not at all relevant to this issue.

      •  This. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Martin is a good player, but I think he had a tough time performing on the field because of all the BS that was going on OFF the field.  I hope another team picks him up and gives him another chance.

        "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

        by Silvia Nightshade on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:23:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I saw a recent interview (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Penny GC

          of Seattle LB -- Malcolm Smith -- Superbowl MVP (and previous college player at USC under Coach Carroll as well).

          Malcolm took a pretty strong position that there is no room for bigotry in the NFL ... and not just about any single issue out there at the moment.

          It was about the fact the Redskins’ name is what it is; the fact that Jonathan Martin doesn’t feel comfortable; the fact that Marcus Smart is being called names on the sideline,” Smith said. “It was more about all those things than just him. I think that’s just another example, Michael Sam coming out. We need to face things head on and be a little bit more responsible about the way we see things.

          “Beyond the way people feel about it, how teammates will accept him, the fact is he’s a good player. He deserves his opportunity to play in the NFL. Everything else is secondary.”

          He went on to remark that Martin would probably be welcome in the Seattle locker room.  

          Owner-Head Coach-Staff-Veteran Player attitudes all matter here establishing a team's (or corporation or military unit's or any other social hierarchy's) particular cultural attitudes and practices.  The Report obviously didn't go this far, but honest external appraisals can certainly see the problem at Miami goes well beyond the O-line unit and it's 3 rogue ringleaders.  This is a League level problem about the workplace environment.

  •  I hate the "culture" that allows this abuse to (0+ / 0-)

    happen. I hope that Martin gets signed and does better performance while on a Team that is not alienating, abusing, and bullying its members. I think that this stems from locker room mentality and is compounded by the mighty football hero's syndrome. We saw this at Penn State. We saw this in the OH high school rape case, we see and hear this stuff everywhere. I live in Seattle area and really hope this isn't going on at the Seahawks' locker room and if the player is to be believed it isn't (at least to this level).
    OK I get it, testosterone! Football! But there needs to be a limit and if this is the tipping point so much the better.
    All that said I do not live in a bubble and Incognito will probably be awarded an award or will be welcomed with open arms at some other team and Martin is probably over. I hope the Hawks pick him up just to prove me wrong!
    But and this is a big But, calling for your sister to be gang-raped by teammates should hold some sort of consequence. The family should be able to sue or something.
    Peace and Blessings!

    For those abused, war torn and blood-soaked regions of the world: due to our apathy, our need for cheap shit, and our wars on terror and drugs, we apologize for the inconvenience.

    by Penny GC on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 02:30:17 PM PST

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