Each time we are close to ending and moving on from the “bullying” fiasco that enveloped much of the Dolphins’ 2013 season, a new wrinkle appears. This time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is apparently ordering–yes, ordering–three grown men to undergo psychiatric evaluations.
There is so much wrong with that; we don’t even know where to begin.
The men in question are Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito, and John Jerry. All three men teased their friend Jonathan Martin last year, and for that “crime,” Goodell thinks they need therapy.
So what is wrong with that?
Well, first and foremost, Goodell is forgetting one of the key people involved: Jonathan Martin. Why isn’t Jonathan Martin required to get a mental health examination just like Jerry, Pouncey, and Incognito are? Remember–and this is important–Jonathan Martin admitted to showing up drunk. He admitted to drug use. We saw the vulgar, hateful texts he sent to Richie. We saw the threatening texts he sent to Richie. We saw the texts discussing prostitutes. Jonathan Martin engaged in actions that were just as vile as Jerry, Pouncey, and Incognito. Yet he gets to walk away scott free.
Why? Still waiting for Goodell or Ted Wells to reply to that one.
When Richie Incognito sent playful texts to Martin, the Wells Report concluded that Richie was a bully. But when Jonathan Martin sent playful texts to Incognito, Ted Wells says that Martin was just goofing around. A little bit biased?
Tony Dungy reached out to a “troubled” Jonathan Martin and gave Martin about 20 full minutes of air time to talk about his feelings and bash his teammates. But when Richie Incognito checks himself into a mental health facility recently, Tony Dungy was not around. Richie got zero air time? Why?
In the news recently was a story about how many NFL head coaches didn’t bother to read the Wells Report. These coaches ignored the report, rightfully, because it was just a recap of some locker-room teasing that occurred among friends. Does the media really expect championship-caliber coaches like Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll to stop everything and read some report?
Cincy coach Marvin Lewis had an interesting take about the cause of this situation: Lewis said that lack of leadership was the cause, because Jake Long had been the leader. Once the Dolphins let their leader (Long) go, they also let leadership go. Very observant of Marv Lewis. And very true. For well over a year, Dolphins Truth has been spouting off about what a terrible decision it was to kick Jake Long to the curb. Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin thought that Jonathan Martin was a tougher and more loyal Dolphin. No decision in NFL history has been more wrong. Sadly, Marvin Lewis, a coach of a team two thousand miles away, saw the value of Jake Long when the coach who saw Jake daily could not. Philbin has some making up to do.
Back to Goodell. There is still a strong possibility that Mike Pouncey will be suspended for his role in the teasing. Specifically, Ted Wells claims that Mike Pouncey was lying about how much he remembered. Apparently, Ted Wells remembers every single text message he sent over the past two years. Mike Pouncey could not remember every single text, so that makes him an outright liar, according to Wells. And sadly, Goodell leans toward accepting Wells’ word as gospel. Pouncey didn’t remember a text from 21 months ago…he’s lying ! It’s bad enough that Pouncey will have to undergo a mental examination for teasing his friend, but he might get suspended too. And apparently Stephen Ross hasn’t (publicly anyway) fought this. He hasn’t stuck up for Pouncey. Or Incognito either for that matter, but we all know that’s not gonna happen.
Goodell says that he won’t discipline any players until AFTER they undergo their psychiatric evaluation. (it’s comical that Goodell keeps calling it a “medical” evaluation, but we all know it’s a shrink). So what is Goodell going to do when the shrink comes back and reports that Pouncey, Jerry, and Incognito are all fine. They are stable. They simply teased their friend. That is not what Goodell is expecting, we guarantee you that. But that is what he’s going to get.
Meanwhile, if Goodell would require “victim” Jon Martin to also undergo a mental exam, the same doctor might deem Martin unfit. He ran away in tears once before. A doctor might conclude that he’ll do it again. Why is Goodell avoiding that scenario?
Another interesting component of all this is the fact that Dolphin ticket sales are actually UP. Fans simply do not care about the alleged teasing of Jonathan Martin. Martin tried to bury the Dolphins, but the Dolphin fans will not allow that to happen. One Hundred Percent of the Dolphins players took Incognito’s side of the story. The fans took Incognito’s side of the story. NFL players and coaches alike have taken Incognito’s side of the story. Mr. Ross needs to look at that very carefully.
The fans are not concerned with ridding the world of bullying. We just want a strong, winning team. And we are closer to having such a team with Mike Pouncey on it.