As if the Dolphins don’t have enough distractions, they’ll have another one as of tomorrow.
Per a league source, NFL independent investigator Ted Wells will commence meeting with individual Dolphins players on Monday and/or Tuesday.
It’s not yet known who will be interviewed or how long the interviews will take. Presumably, Wells will talk to any of the teammates identified on Friday by tackle Jonathan Martin as players who harassed him or witnessed the conduct.
Wells’ strategy for the order of the interviews could get interesting. In some investigations of workplace misconduct, the lawyer meets with potential witnesses before meeting with the employees accused of wrongdoing. Under that strategy, suspended guard Richie Incognito would be one of the last players with whom Wells meets.
Possibly complicating the investigation will be Incognito’s grievance. The hearing is set for Thursday. Would Incognito agree to be interviewed by Wells before the hearing, or would Incognito insist on delaying his interview with Wells until after the grievance hearing has occurred?
Regardless, Wells and (as Martin called them on Friday) “his team” will have their hands full. In addition to figuring out what happened between Martin and Incognito, they have to determine whether and to what extent other teammates engaged in behavior that crosses the line, and whether and to what extent the coaching staff or administration knew about it.
Through it all will be the broader question of whether the conduct occurring in Miami was an aberration — or whether it was consistent with the broader NFL culture. It’s a rabbit hole that Wells could decide to explore, and that the NFL would prefer be plugged with cement.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have two football games. Today, they host the Chargers. Next Sunday, the Panthers come to town.
By conducting the interviews early in the week, the distraction will be minimized, but the only way to truly minimize it is to make it all go away. That may not be happening for a while.