The Dolphins hope to avoid a repeat of last year’s embarrassing episode involving former Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin and former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito. To do so, they’ve added some key employees.
The Dolphins announced Monday that former Toys R Us and Target executive Dan Caspersen will run the human resources department, and that Joe Cicini will supervise the team’s security department. Also, former Dolphins finance and legal affairs specialist Brandon Shore will be placed in the Dolphins’ training facility as a “dedicated resource” of the human resources department.
While Caspersen and Cicini drew more attention in the release announcing the changes, the shift in Shore’s responsibilities represents, in our view, the far more significant move. By having someone constantly present in the training facility looking out for potential harassment or bullying or other improper conduct, employees who in the future may be experiencing difficulty in the workplace will have a much easier way to seek help.
And if/when someone ever publicly claims harassment or bullying or other improper conduct without previously making a report to Shore, it will be easier for the Dolphins to prove that the team didn’t know and had no reason to know about the situation.
Other teams would be wise to adopt a similar approach. And the NFL would be wise to apply a more modern sensitivity to federal and state employment laws.
Given that the NFL-endorsed film Draft Day has a subplot involving the Browns G.M. learning that he has impregnated a subordinate employee, it’s safe to say the league still has a long way to go.