Dolphins hit rock bottom, keep digging


People hate lawyers until they need them.  And then when lawyers tell them what to do and they don’t want to do it, they hate the lawyers again.

In Miami, the Dolphins need a good lawyer — and they need to listen to him or her or them.

The public comments from players like receiver Brian Hartline and tackle Tyson Clabo show that the Dolphins either haven’t sought legal advice, or they haven’t implemented it.  Or, perhaps, that they’ve tried and the players decided to defy the instructions they received, in a Grambling-style revolt against management.

Here’s what should have happened.  Coach Joe Philbin should have called a meeting of all players, coaches, and football personnel, at which Philbin would have introduced Dolphins General Counsel Adam Zissman and Senior Director of Human Resources Yolando Valencia. (Owner Stephen Ross would have attended the meeting to demonstrate the importance of the issue.)

Zissman and Valencia then would have shared with the players the following message:  “NFL policy prohibits retaliation and will not tolerate any attempt at retaliation against any person, who, in good faith, makes or assists in making a complaint under our policies.”

Next, Zissman and Valencia would have explained what this means, via concrete examples of things they shouldn’t do or say in relation to tackle Jonathan Martin.  They specifically would have been told not to say anything suggesting any degree of anger or frustration with Martin, and they would have been told to never mention anything about the situation to Martin and to treat him no differently because of it.

Then, Philbin would have reiterated the bottom line — don’t say anything about Martin, don’t say anything to Martin, don’t say or do anything that would suggest any frustration with or resentment of Martin.

The worst situation for the Dolphins and Philbin would be if the Dolphins and Philbin did just that, and that the players have decided to ignore the instruction.

Regardless, Hartline and Clabo have proven that an environment of retaliation against Martin already exists.  Which makes it difficult if not impossible for Martin to ever return to the team.

Apart from the league’s investigation, the Dolphins need to assess the failure of the football operation, the business operation, or both to seek proper legal advice and to ensure that it gets implemented.

58 responses to “Dolphins hit rock bottom, keep digging

  1. What? so basically, you are saying those who are witnesses for months along with video, pictures, and audio recordings of them being friends etc.. are wrong because you need to continue to push the bullying angle passed down through nbc? Logical. No wonder you aren’t a lawyer. Cog is being used as a scapegoat for them to recover money after walking out on the team. He’s easy to hate and you can paint it as a simple black and white picture… hence the false dichotomy.

  2. Right, let’s all get together and get our story straight. Worked so well for the Saints. Always gonna be someone that mans up and tells the truth.

  3. Are you billing Stephen Ross $1,000 per hour for this advice Mike?

    Although I run a nickel and dime small business and know this when conflict finds me.

  4. Oh well, hindsight’s always 20/20 Florio.

    Besides, I think fans have already diverted their attention on the Dolphins to the Heat, since that team’s capable of bringing home another championship.

  5. If you listen to Ryan T.–whom most would trust to give an educated opinion on the matter–about the relationship he observed between Jonathan M. & Richie I., then yet another layer [I think this now makes 17…] of mystery and confusion surrounds this whole Goat-F***!

  6. We all jumped to conclusions about this far too early.

    If it was simply a case of Incognito going rouge and crazy no one in that locker room would have even come remotely close to defending him.

    I think Martin may have been more in the wrong than any of us know.

    As much as Florio hates to hear that…

  7. As I have been saying from the start you don’t know the whole story and now it coming out.

    Martin was passing the voicemail around and laughing with it this year with teammates.

    Richie came to Martins defense when Martin got into a fight with Dion Jordan to weeks ago.

  8. How about admitting to everyone we got the whole story wrong from the start. Martins lawyer parents used bullying as the excuse to cover up the stigmatism associated with mental illness, they did it to protect their son that had to check himself into a treatment facility. The fact is Martin and Incognito where close friends. Guy was upset about being replaced at LT a week earlier. Took it as failure.

  9. This is looking more and more like a “code red”
    And Ritchie is the dumb cadet saying he didnt do anything wrong and was just following orders.

  10. And what makes u the pro at what the Miami dolphins should do in this situation… Media has ruined pro football I miss the 80’s and 90’s when it was just a man’s sport

  11. The NFL lockerroom is no different than the workplace. Bullying effects over 90% of people in the workforce every day. How many people have been bullied by their Supervisor every day.
    I say put an end to supervisor bullying around the world.

  12. While all of this is great advice and a path the Dolphins should have chosen, Martin is going to have a tough time playing anywhere
    Perceived as soft, a snitch and just gave EVERY NFL player the blueprint on how to get under his skin and into his head.
    Can you imagine the trash talking he’s gonna face, regardless where he plays?

  13. Greg Schiano needs to send flowers to the Dolphins…his train wreck of a season was due to garner more negative attention on the upcoming Monday nighter vs. The Fins…instead the spotlight shines solely on the mess in Miami.

  14. I don’t doubt anything the Dolphins players are saying. That’s the problem tho. This is a business and it needs to be run in a professional manner and that is the job of the front office and coaches. Part of that is insuring that the workplace is professional and free of harrassment. This is an institutional failure. The children (players who clearly don’t understand why this is a massive problem) were not being watched and guided by the adults (who should all know better than to have allowed this to get as far as it has). Philbin’s probably a nice guy and a capable coach, but we’re never really going to find out because his head coaching career is finished.

  15. Why is it retaliation in the player comments? Maybe they are just surprised at the conflict, saying, “those guys were best friends.” It sounds more like surprise than retaliation.

  16. It’s the “in good faith” part that you seem to be getting froggy with, conclusions wise.

    Just WAIT for the facts.

  17. We only need lawyers because of the never-ending bunch of BS that lawyers created in the first place. I mean honestly, other than outright criminals, is there any group of persons on this planet held in lower regard than lawyers? Gee, I wonder why.

  18. Tannehill on welcoming EITHER player back:

    (again paraphrased) It’s tough. They both have their rights and wrongs. It’s out of my hands. If or when they come back… I’m big on forgive and forget so I’m sure we’ll work it out.

  19. What an O line. Pouncey, Martin, Incognito, McKinnie – MNF they should introduce them with Warren Zevon’s – Lawyers, Guns and Money playing in the background.

  20. The 2013-14 season is starting to look more like a black hole for the whole NFL with the Hernandez situation in New England and now the potential racial/hazing/bullying problems in Miami, rampant PED use, DUI’s assaults, etc.. London better get ready…

  21. Jonathan Martin’s NFL career might be over. But he will make a fortune as the new spokesperson for Cialis…….

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