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Incognito saga gets more convoluted
Does anyone believe we’ll ever actually know the truth or all of the details about this story? I doubt it. I’m done reacting to the latest piece of information that trickles out daily and will wait to see what the NFL’s independent investigator reports. That will be the definitive word on what transpired (regardless of whether it is the complete or accurate truth). To that end I will part with this: harassment is defined as what an individual perceives – not what is intended. It’s the law and it applies to all workplaces, including the NFL. The NFL hired a prominent New York lawyer, Ted Wells, to investigate. From the USA Today article
Wells is the same lawyer who handled the special investigations into the Syracuse University basketball team sexual harassment case and the NBA players union leadership dispute – the latter ending in a report that led to a change in the head of the union.
Wells isn’t an NFL guy. Here’s his page on his law firm’s website. (Has anyone checked if he’s aJets fan?). He will investigate based on the normative definition of harassment. He’s getting paid by the hour on a HIGH profile case. You can bet his evaluation will be to the letter of the law. Even if Incognito was a well-intentioned meat head, I don’t think this is going to go down well for the Dolphins. Currently there are several huge problems for the franchise:
- 1. reports that the coaches directed/encouraged Incognito to toughen Martin up.
- 2. reports that Ireland told Martin’s agent on the day Martin walked out to confront Incognito to address the harassment. Then couple that with the Phins (Philbin, I think) saying they knew nothing of the harassment until they got the voicemail message, roughly 6 days after Martin walked out.
- 3. all of the players coming out in support of Incognito. Right now the Incognito supporters are soaking this up, thinking it defends Incognito and clears his name. Instead, this gives legal evidence of a hostile work environment and only hurts the Phins as a team more.
- 4. that Martin played the voicemail message and the locker room laughed. Many have interpreted this event that Martin didn’t think it was a big deal – but maybe he was hoping his teammates would hear that and tell Incognito to back off, or at least show some support for Martin? In the face of the locker room’s disdain for message, Martin likely realized they didn’t see Incognito’s actions as a problem. This again rather than somehow clearing Incognito could be used as evidence of a hostile work environment.
This story remains front page in mainstream media. The issues here are beyond “is Incognito guilty/innocent”, or “is Martin soft or does he have emotional issues”. There will be implications to ALL NFL teams. The NFL can’t afford to take a hit on this or the next time a guy alleges harassment. Anyone doubt that there will be more harassment cases filed? News of this type of behavior in other NFL locker rooms is already beginning to leak out.
Some talk has begun about blowing the team up and starting over. They just might get their wish. Be careful what you wish for. As we’ve seen over the past decade: just because you get somebody new doesn’t mean it’s somebody better. Do you think the Phins look like a great place to advance your career?
I’m afraid that this will make the franchise radioactive and no well qualified people are going to want to step into the GM or coaching spots. I’m afraid that this is going to be very damaging to an already wounded franchise and that it will make it that much harder and take that much longer to dig out of this hole that they’ve been in.
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Latest posts by Michael Miller (see all)
- Incognito saga gets more convoluted - November 7, 2013
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- Forget the offense. Miami’s fate depends on the defense. - October 11, 2013