Two people should not feel safe in their positions with the Miami Dolphins after hearing what owner Stephen Ross said today: Richie Incognito and the man who signed him, Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland.
When Ross spoke to reporters today, he made very clear that he was deeply disturbed by the fact that Incognito used the N-word in a voicemail to teammate Jonathan Martin, who has left the team. In fact, Ross said that his initial reaction to Incognito using a racial slur was that it’s “so appalling to me” that “I know I am capable of overreacting,” suggesting that he thought of cutting Incognito right then and there.
In his interview with Mike Tirico on ESPN, Ross made similar comments, saying there’s no excuse for the way Incognito addressed Martin.
“I want to make sure the type of racial slurs, harassment, bullying doesn’t occur on our team, in our locker room,” Ross said. “There’s no room for that in our workplace.”
Ross also said he is forming an advisory group to help him deal with the situation, and that two of the people on that group will be Tony Dungy and Don Shula. Dungy has said that when he coached the Colts he didn’t want to draft Incognito because of character concerns, and Shula has said that when the Dolphins signed Incognito they took a chance on a guy with a bad reputation and it backfired.
As for Ireland, Ross spoke volumes with his silence. In both the statement Ross released and his press conference, Ross said absolutely nothing supportive about Ireland. On the other hand, Ross was effusive in his praise of head coach Joe Philbin.
“I don’t think there is a better person, a more respected person, a more caring person in the National Football League than Joe Philbin,” Ross said. “I have the utmost confidence in Joe Philbin as our coach.”
But Ross didn’t say he has any confidence in Ireland. Perhaps because he has no confidence in Ireland.