After Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline and Dolphins tackle Tyson Clabo provided on Wednesday some candid, pointed comments suggesting support for exiled teammate Richie Incognito and criticism of absent teammate Jonathan Martin, we wondered aloud whether anyone with the Dolphins had told the players to zip it.
As we’ve continued to sift through the haystack of reports emerging from the first open locker room session since Incognito’s suspension, it’s now clear that the Dolphins players decided to ignore the instructions they were given by the team.
According to Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com, players were told to defer questions about the situation to coach Joe Philbin. Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post mentioned in a stream of compelling tweets on Wednesday that Hartline said the players had been “ordered” not to comment on Monday, but that the players decided to “defend ourselves” on Wednesday.
Hartline also added that the players believe they’re being bullied by the media. But the media merely has been reacting to a story that took on a much different feel once Martin’s representatives provided the now-notorious Incognito voice message to the team, and the team decided quickly to suspend Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.
That’s the point the players and the growing wave of Martin bashers in the media are missing. If there was a rush to judgment, it was committed not by the media but by the Dolphins
While none of the players have directly blamed the team for suspending Incognito, the decision to defy orders possibly arises from the visceral sense that Incognito has been wronged by the organization.
And that’s the irony of what happened on Wednesday. At a time when so many football types chastise Martin for not handling his business in house, players like Hartline and Clabo opted to not handle their business in house, ignoring the instructions they’d been given and griping openly and publicly about how Incognito has been treated.
But the media didn’t suspend Incognito. The team did. And now the team has to decide whether to discipline the players who openly disrespected their coach by not following his wishes.
If they do, this thing could become an all-out mutiny. If it isn’t already.