Miami’s Muzzle: The Team That Cannot Keep Their Mouths Shut
It is amazing how quickly a team can end up back in the headlines as fast as the Miami Dolphins have during this offseason. Numerous stories could have made the front page, such as the big signing of offensive tackle Brandon Albert. But, the most recent time that Miami has been in the news had nothing to do with free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft. Instead, the media has placed a spotlight on certain Dolphins’ players, who refuse to act like mature adults.
Most recently, on Saturday afternoon, safety Don Jones voiced his opinion on Twitter. His tweets, which were eventually taken down, said “OMG” and “Horrible.” This was in reaction to the St. Louis Rams drafting Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. Jones was quickly excused from all team activities and fined a sum. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin had this to say, in a statement to FoxNews.com:
"We were disappointed to read Don's tweets. They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL. We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program."
These actions came weeks after the closure of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal. These two players, who were lining up next to each other for the first half of the 2013 NFL Season before Martin excused himself from the team, are now both gone from the Dolphins. Incognito was cut and has yet to be signed by any team. Martin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Miami has done all they could to rebuild their offensive line and put all of this behind them.
In lack of a better term, the Miami Dolphins players need to put a muzzle on. In a world of diversity and changing beliefs, Jones and Incognito have shown their unwillingness to accept the views of others. Jones has shown the inability to accept that homosexuality is not as taboo of a topic as it was only a decade ago. Incognito, a 30-year-old, thought that it was still acceptable to bully and tease the younger Martin.
It will be a challenge for the Dolphins’ organization to, again, misdirect the negative media attention away from the team, and it will be hard to turn this bad publicity into wins on the field. It's time for the team from South Beach to focus their attention in their locker room and on the practice field.
Just because you are in the news does not mean you are winning. It will take a good season for the Dolphins’ perception to be changed in the media and the world of football.