Plan for public report of Dolphins investigation raises questions, concerns

Reuters

Last week, when the NFL named Ted Wells the independent investigator for the Dolphins investigation, the league pointed out that the final report will be made public.

It made sense on the surface, given that it was inevitable that the report would be leaked.  Still, applying that label prospectively has a potential impact on the manner in which the investigation proceeds.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen explained that the public nature of the report could prompt some Dolphins employees to be careful about what they say, especially as it relates to possible examples of conduct extending beyond the Jonathan Martin situation.  And we’ve separately heard that the plan to make the report public could have a chilling effect on Martin’s comments to Wells.

Sure, Martin has said he’ll fully cooperate.  But does that mean Martin will, for example, surrender his cell phone to Wells for full inspection of text messages that possibly will be included in the public report?  Martin may regard certain text messages to be sensitive and irrelevant; Wells may disagree.  The end result could be that Martin ends up dealing with an unnecessary embarrassment that he believes extends beyond the treatment he claims he experienced.

That leads to another question.  With the league committed to making Wells’ report public, how much of the supporting documentation will be made public, too?  It’s one thing for Wells to include in his report a specific statement that a teammate made to Martin.  It’s quite another for a full transcript of Martin’s entire interview with Wells to be made public.

Per a league source, the NFL currently doesn’t know whether Wells plans to release the supporting documentation publicly, or whether those documents will be concealed.

As a practical matter, it will be difficult if not impossible to scrutinize the quality of Wells’ investigation by simply reading the report.  And it’s quite possible that, by vowing to make the final report public, the league has stepped onto a slippery slope that could result in thousands of pages ultimately being dropped into the media’s lap.

Hooray?

46 responses to “Plan for public report of Dolphins investigation raises questions, concerns

  1. I hope Incognito is fully humiliated by his deplorable actions being made completely public. And I hope the coaches and other personnel who let this go on pay the proper price for their actions.

  2. The end result could be that Martin ends up dealing with an unnecessary embarrassment that he believes extends beyond the treatment he claims he experienced.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I call BS on that one. Martin has not seemed concerned with unnecessary embarrassment when it comes to the team or the other players so why should his potential embarrassment be a concern? He could have addressed the situation within the organization but he chose not to. He chose to embarrass the team and Incognito by blindsiding them with allegations through the media (by his lawyers). He supported the allegations with stuff from 8 months ago and other things that he himself has done to others and is now complaining about. I’m not buying his story so far. I could be wrong. We’ll know once ALL the facts and motivations are known. If anything at all is repressed from public scrutiny there will always be a level of doubt.

  3. Just like in life, be careful what you wish for. It may come true. What if Martins cell contains info on certain “sensitive” issues re his private life? “Closet” doors that shouldnt be opened. Truly pandora’s box possibilities the NFL doesnt want to be involved in. What a mess.

  4. @FinFan – Martin did try to handle this privately within the Dolphins org. His agent called the GM to discuss the situation and was told tomhave Martin pinch Incognito in the mouth. It was clear then to Martin that he would not get any assistance from team management.

  5. Personally, I have always felt that this seems to be more of a “lovers” spat than anything else. I could see a Brokeback Mountain moment here. They exchanged 1142 texts with each other.

    There is a lot more to this story that I really want to know.

  6. Well be careful what you wish for. The NFL plays a sport where physical violence, verbal taunting happen on EVERY play. To expect the behavior of these participants to be Monk like in the locker room and after hours is probably the biggest hypocracy since Obamacare!

  7. Herm Edwards said it best- When you go to a nice restaurant, do you really want to see what goes on in the kitchen while they’re preparing your meal?

    I’m not sure I really want to know what goes on in an NFL locker room.

  8. @lastdukestreeking – Martin had already left the Dolphins when Ireland and his agent had that conversation. Of course… it was reported that it happened BEFORE Martin left, then was retracted. Typical media.

  9. lastdukestreetking says:
    Nov 13, 2013 10:30 AM
    @FinFan – Martin did try to handle this privately within the Dolphins org. His agent called the GM to discuss the situation and was told tomhave Martin pinch Incognito in the mouth. It was clear then to Martin that he would not get any assistance from team management.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nice try, but that was AFTER Martin left the team…and no context was provided for that conversation at all. It is being presented like Ireland said that and then hung up. I’m sure there is more to it than that and the meaning behind it could be something entirely different.

  10. Maybe I’m missing something here, but if Martin wanted to keep certain texts private, couldn’t he simply delete them? Works well enough on my phone.

    Also, @lastdukestreetking, the only source for “His agent called the GM to discuss the situation and was told tomhave Martin pinch Incognito in the mouth,” is Martin’s agent, who released said statement at a carefully chosen moment. It may be true, but you can’t cherry pick one uncorroborated report and act like it proves anything.

    It would be especially interesting to me if Ireland did in fact say Martin should “pinch” him in the mouth LOL.

  11. @lastdukestreetking

    Ireland never told Martin’s agent for Martin to hit Incognito. However, since the press reported it at first it still goes on.

    What is now being reported is that he asked why didn’t he. Then even with that you don’t know the context of which it was said.

  12. It seems pretty obvious to me that the NFL has made this public knowledge for a simple reason – to shut the players up.

    Players are now going to say “I don’t recall” instead of being open and honest, because they don’t want to deal with the public outcry when their comments become known.

    The best way to avoid the entire mess is to not say anything in the first place. By making it known in advance, the NFL has made sure that the players will do exactly that.

    Well done, Rodger.

    It is in the league’s best interest to minimize the issue and get back to printing money every Sunday…

  13. gimme a break! i think they can tell which texts are relevant to the investigation and which ones are not.

    no reason to make Martin’s personal texts to other people public record.

    the texts between Martin and teammates however would be completely relevant because it establishes how communication occurred between the parties.

  14. Given that Martin’s mom is an attorney who specializes in labor issues including workplace harrasment this is going to really get ugly in ways the NFL might not anticipate.

    I still think this is ultinmately about Martin’s parents going after a big payday for their boy. IMHO.

  15. I love that someone is actually expressing concern that Martin may feel bullied by his own text messages. Hilarious!

  16. “Maybe I’m missing something here, but if Martin wanted to keep certain texts private, couldn’t he simply delete them? Works well enough on my phone.”

    Yes, you are missing something. The recipients are likely to have a saved copy of the same message on their phones.

  17. @8drinkminimum

    Bingo!

    What Martin did (leaving a team because of emotional issues) is not unprecedented.

    What is different in this case is Martin’s mom is a Harvard educated attorney specializing in Labor disputes.

    She is the real person who is pushing this case.

  18. There will be a report of the investigation released to the public, but that doesn’t mean that every detail gather during the investigation will be released. The report will represent the summary conclusions of the investigation.

  19. I’m old enough to remember when the Miami Dolphins were a football team that mattered.

    Shocking, but true.

    They were respected and actually really good. In fact, for a period of time from the early 1970’s to the mid 1980’s, the Dolphins were a model organization that virtually every other team strived to be like.

    It’s gotten to the point with this team where it’s almost like that never even happened or certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with the current incarnation of the Miami Dolphins………especially now since even the uniform and logo has been changed.

    It’s a shame, but the truth is for me, someone who has followed this team closely since 1970, it’s like they no longer even exist. It’s beyond my comprehension how or why anyone would waste their time, energy or money supporting this organization. If this team was a horse it would have been put down many, many years ago.

  20. Dolphin fans are upset and they should be but they need to understand that it was their own organization that allowed the League to step into the situation. Poor leadership in the Dolphin Front Office lead to this mess. In New Emgland a man is being charged with three murders and it has not affected the team from a competetive stand point. It probably has disrupted the front office but the buck stopped there.

  21. All the more reason why Ross should have taken my advice and flown ME in to give him a PRIVATE report instead of going to Roger Goodell for help. I would have investigated the matter in a way that helps Ross keep things private AND improve their football team.

    Ted Wells isn’t going to do either of those things to help him, he was a lousy choice and now Ross is at risk for a potentially new kind of categorical problem.

  22. FREE RICHIE INCOGNITO!! Release Martin on Waivers for another team to pick up and be done with the nonsense.

  23. Conclusion with out seeing the documentation that led to the conclusion. Why is all of this suddenly sounding awful familiar?

  24. I miss the Redskins name “controversy.” Things like this story are the bad side to instant news now. Instead of getting all the information and being able to form an opinion the information comes in daily.

  25. What I would really like to know is when are we going to see the public report and investigation on the officials and how they screw at least one team out of a win each week.

    Seriously who really cares about this he said she said crap? And maybe it is just that.

    I want the league to stop diverting attention from the REAL issue the NFL has this year, not this insignificant stuff.

  26. Incognito got thrown under the bus by Martin!!! Now the media wants to demonize him for calling someone the N word with ER on the end…. If it was AH on the end there’d be no issue!!! Dirty word and has been used by black america for the last thiry years.

    “Those that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!!!”

    GET OVER IT!!!!

    Martin most likely has some outside issues of his own and simply used the “bullying” accusation as an excuse. Richie Incognito needs to get fined for being such a nimrod!!!!

  27. The final report that is released will probably not have all the supporting documentation. I hope they talk about the “incidents” Incognito keeps getting into. It goes to his character and his problems.

  28. The Dolphin players, Incognito, some upper management and Martin are all complicit in this mess. The reason Martin is not in Miami practicing has to do with his desire to become a free agent. I would love to know how many are really concerned about J. Martin’s mental health or is it a forgone conclusion that Martin is seeking professional help to give himself leverage to get what he wants; a release from the Dolphins and to become a free agent.

  29. I’m not a lawyer, but since this is a hostile work environment complaint which is a federal regulatory infringement, I’m pretty sure making the investigation “public” is a violation of Martin’s civil rights.

  30. The NFL needs to allow corporations to own franchises. Currently, there is no way to get rid of inept owners. At least with corporate ownership, the President in charge of Football Operations would be fired or replaced. The Board of Directors would insist upon it.

  31. I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing a “woman scorned” type vibe here. Personally, I have no issue if there was a romantic relationship between players, but this whole situation screams bad break up.

    I don’t even exchange more than a thousand texts with my wife, and these guys worked 60+ hours a week together.

  32. tfaulk says: Nov 13, 2013 11:33 AM

    “Maybe I’m missing something here, but if Martin wanted to keep certain texts private, couldn’t he simply delete them? Works well enough on my phone.”

    Yes, you are missing something. The recipients are likely to have a saved copy of the same message on their phones.
    ——————–

    Google and Fakebook will have copies also, if needed.

  33. I wonder if Ross and Co. thought to just ask Martin what he would like to see happen.

    If he wants out of his contract without giving back the signing bonus, let him have it and send him on his way. Cheaper than a legal settlement.

    If he wants Incognito cut from the team, let him have it. Incognito’s damaged goods, waive him so he can get on with whats left of his career.

    There were any number of things Ross could have done to make this go away quickly and quietly. At this point, it will continue to be a long and drawn out petty drama with investigation reports served up as media fodder and/or lawyers and their billable hours getting rich off everyone involved.

  34. This smells of a civil lawsuit filed by the Martin family. The NFL is gonna cover their butt, and the dolphins will get to write a check to the Martins While giving him his unconditional release. Inconito will be playing for another team next year. Out of court Settlement will approach $4 million, Martin will never play in the NFL and the terms of a settlement will be sealed. Bookmark this comment.

  35. keylimelight says:
    Nov 13, 2013 3:47 PM
    There were any number of things Ross could have done to make this go away quickly and quietly. At this point, it will continue to be a long and drawn out petty drama with investigation reports served up as media fodder and/or lawyers and their billable hours getting rich off everyone involved.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I don’t think there was anything he could have done to keep this quick or quiet. By the time the team was notified Martin had already made a scene in the lunchroom and ran to the nearest mental ward while his agent and lawyers were ginning up the media outcry over a racist bully that supposedly caused Martin’s breakdown. It has already been shown that the initial reports were overblown and/or misrepresented but the story is still sticking. Ross is in lawsuit avoidance mode. Martin has firmly established himself as the victim with the media/public (they typically love to champion a victim/David vs. Goliath type story) and any attempt to disregard or downplay (publicly) Martin’s account would be met with strong criticism and even more negative press.

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