“Code Red” concept could be a defense not rooted in reality

Getty Images

Suspended Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has not yet claimed that he did whatever he did to tackle Jonathan Martin because Incognito was told to “toughen up” his teammate.  In refusing to answer that question, Incognito hinted that there was a proverbial “Code Red.”

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the early indications suggest that there wasn’t.

The concept was first reported last week by Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and the investigation could indeed result in evidence or contentions that the players were simply doing what they were told to do.  For now, however, it’s preliminarily believed the players were acting on their own.

And even if there was a “Code Red,” the thinking is that Incognito and others went far beyond anything that reasonably could be expected to make a young player tougher.

Chances are that the Dolphins already have concluded to their own satisfaction that the coaches aren’t culpable.  Otherwise, owner Stephen Ross wouldn’t have so fervently praised head coach Joe Philbin (while ignoring G.M. Jeff Ireland) during a Monday press conference.

“Joe Philbin is probably one of the most organized people I’ve ever met, when I interviewed him that stood out,” Ross said Monday.  “What also stood out was his character.  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. . . .  I have the total, utmost confidence in Joe Philbin as our coach.”

Even though the Dolphins have asked for an independent investigation, they have the resources to perform their own.  With Ross so clearly troubled by whatever it is that occurred, it would be foolish to assume the team hasn’t already talked to coaches and players.

The stark difference between the way Ross talked about Philbin and the way Ross didn’t talk at all about Ireland suggests that, for now, the blame falls to the scientist who mixed a volatile blend of chemicals, and not the guy charged with cleaning up the mess.

That won’t necessarily stop players, perhaps at the advice of the NFLPA or their own agents/lawyers, from dusting off the Bountygate notion that the responsibility ultimately flows to team management.  Indeed, Incognito’s loaded non-answer may have been aimed at creating the impression that he’ll eventually claim he was merely doing what he was instructed to do.

As the investigation heats up on Friday with an interview of Jonathan Martin by Ted Wells, it remains one of the biggest questions for Wells to answer.

23 responses to ““Code Red” concept could be a defense not rooted in reality

  1. But it also could be real. We don’t know. And it could be tricky for Ted Wells to find supporting information to help the Dolphins fend off the Incognitoesque attack. In poker, you don’t have to have real cards either if you can bluff the other person into thinking your cards are more valuable than they are. But this isn’t a regular poker game where you can throw a few chips in and win and get ALL the chips. There are mini-game fallout sessions that put Incognito’s poker hand into a prime position to really put the Dolphins and anybody else’s story he wants to contest into a real bind.

    His strategy is to stand pat and continue letting other people involved with this situation potentially make more missteps, and if he does nothing to screw up his hand then I think he’s got a good shot for this process and other future decisions by relevant parties to play into his postured hand quite nicely.

    Every different person involved in this whole situation is going to take a different approach than the other to get what they seek or to build a name for themselves or their stories. Incognito is operating from a strategically enhanced position from where he was at during the metaphorical Ground Zero moment if there was one. Miami needs to be very careful and very shrewd with how they operate from here, and their options are now less flexible now that they invited in an independent investigation that is not well equipped to battle the Incognito hand for their benefit.

    They had a stronger defense and anti-attack plan by doing it themselves. They could have even salvaged keeping one of these players if they played their cards right. It was a better option than to lose both and have 2 major case problems that can become legal came problems if they don’t figure out a resolution that is agreeable to all parties.

  2. Most folks want to axe Ireland and blame him for most everything. Personally, I think Ireland has done a good enough job of bringing in talent, I’m just not sure this coaching staff knows how to use it/develop it.

  3. I can’t believe anyone still thinks this is a case of “bullying”. It has become more than obvious that this is a case of a bunch of playing a macho game and one of them got tired of playing.

  4. Who cares if they wanted Icognito to “toughen up” Martin? That phrase is being completely blown out of proportion. There are thousands of ways to “toughen” someone up without crossing the line legally, ethically, or otherwise. Regardless of whether Icognito did or did not cross that line, it’s hard to accuse Miami’s leaders of doing anything wrong by simply wanting Martin to be tougher.

  5. Well said jimmyt. It seems like there are two sides to this story. One side is made up of one guy who claims X was done to him by Y. The other side is made up of the rest of the team and several former NFL players that says Y didn’t do what the first side is saying. Let’s say for presentation purposes here that it’s 1 vs 1000. Why does the media think the “1” is right?

  6. Let the witch hunt proceed.
    Incog was with the team because THE COACHING STAFF wanted him . Philbin has had plenty of time and exp. w/ Ingcog to make an informed decision.
    The idea that the GM is strictly and solo responsible for the culture in the locker room is utterly ridiculous.

  7. Plus Incognito still hasn’t even flashed the extra powerful wildcard he has in the NFLPA that will staunchly support him if and when he needs them. Or they can not do that and he can sue them too. It’s nice to have friends that are forced to have your back.

    I’m still waiting for the NFLPA to make their case that Miami was in the right to suspend him for “conduct detrimental to the team”. What did he do that was wrong that wasn’t explicitly part of his job? Yeah forget “implied”, I doubt Richie is going to claim he was confused by the orders that were given to him, well that is if we even need to discuss that, that’s up to the players in the game that currently have choices they are forced to make. Richie is only in wait-and-react-mode right now.

    To be continued…

  8. Yeah, not sure I buy the whole “code red” concept here. These are pro athletes not the marines. It’s a business and orders from a coach – even orders that are well meaning – aren’t always obeyed (road curfew, etc.). At no point is a professional athlete (let alone a pro bowl starter who is not exactly clinging to a roster spot) – going to follow an order that they think isn’t in line with their personal beliefs. I’m not even sure what “toughen him up” means to most people, but I fail to see how making his life miserable off the field is a way to do that. I also don’t believe that anyone – including the Phins coaches – could truly believe that Incognito should be trusted to mentor or provide toughness lessons to a young high draft pick. By all accounts it was a bonus if Incognito wasn’t screwing stuff up for himself.

  9. Not uncommon in bullying situations to have the victim as 1 person going up against several people protecting the abuser, especially when that person is in a leadership position, as is the case with Incognito. To say that it is the rest of the team against Martin is a deliberate overstatement. There are a few that have supported Incognito, with the majority remaining quiet.

    Most people don’t really understand bullying and abuse- especially those who bring up the whole “man-up” thing.

    It’s not uncommon what you see on these boards- oftentimes, it’s the victim of the bully that gets blamed for what happened, until he or she does something drastic- then people open their eyes.

  10. The Code Red will be hard if not impossible to prove. In A Few Good Men, for the sake of the movie Col. Nathan Jessup allowed Lt. Kaffee to goad him into admitting it, but in a real situation he would have never confessed. Ever. Not doing so would have left those two guys out to dry, but that would have been what it had to be from his point of view.

    Incognito faces a similar situation but with a smarter Col. Nathan R. Jessup who actually eats breakfast 200 miles from 4000 Cubans played by Joe Philbin. Whether Coach Philbin or one of his minions gave the order or not neither him nor them would ever admit it, and they would likely deny it forever. Incognito will fry for this because, unless he has recorded proof there will be no”gimme” admission, no “you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall” to get him off the hook.

  11. Noted that media has yet to play the “lover’s spat” card. About the movie A Few Good Men, I always thought it ended lamely with a Jack giving a confession, the easy way out in a courtroom drama. Also, “Code Red” means “fire” anywhere else. You hear Code Red over a page system, walk swiftly but do not run to the nearest exit.

  12. The trite comparisons to “A Few Good Men” have become really repetitive and aren’t really analogous to the Incognito/Martin issue.

  13. You know what I love? I love when players always say, “it’s just a business” or “it was a business decision.”

    But when it comes to to real rights for the working environment, it’s now “the locker room is different, there are different rules.”

    Uhhh folks, it doesn’t matter what your job is, workers rights apply for all people in the workplace. That includes what happened down in the Miami locker room. And last I checked the NFL and the teams are businesses who have to run under the same rules as the rest.

    So cry all you want about football being different, that still doesn’t put you above state and federal laws.

  14. TheRealLogicalVoice says:
    Nov 14, 2013 2:16 PM
    Let’s say for presentation purposes here that it’s 1 vs 1000. Why does the media think the “1″ is right?
    Um, because the “1” is the only one to produce real evidence thus far?!

  15. Incognito can also use each player against others while competing with them at the same time.

    He can use Ted Wells to find supporting stuff against the Dolphins and Jonathan Martin, but then he can use Jonathan Martin against the Dolphins, he can use the Dolphins against Martin, he can use the NFLPA against the Dolphins and Ted Wells, and then he can use his teammates against all parties since they already spoke out well in his favor for how good of a teammate he was.

    Everybody is a potential enemy or threat to him, while also doubling as tools to use against the other threats. So from his POV, they are ALL his good friends and he has no problem with any of them under the right and most conveniently timely lenses. Only for brief stints of time as counterpoints does he disagree with them momentarily since he firsthand knows all the “real” facts. Meaning the facts he can claim that are not debunkable.

  16. klutch14u says: Nov 14, 2013 2:05 PM

    They are going to whack Ireland and hire Carl Peterson. Bank on it


    He goes by Carl Peterson-Thompson, not his choice.

  17. Evidently, once a player first straps on pads at a young age, they lose the ability to think for themselves along with any capacity to distinguish between right and wrong.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!