Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Saying Goodbye to the Losers that are the Miami Dolphins
Last night I had the painful duty of explaining to my oldest son, and fellow fan of the Miami Dolphins, that I will no longer support, or cheer for, or watch, or wear the clothing of our team.
This seemingly trivial moment in my relationship with this 14-year old was actually an important moment to teach him a lesson about character, honor and civility.
In case you missed it, the Miami Dolphins are in big trouble as an organization - and it has nothing to do with the fact that it has not won a Super Bowl in 40 years and once again sports a losing record.
No, it is all because they have losers who are on record engaging in some of the most disgusting abuse of a fellow teammate you will ever read about.
Sparing you the gory details, which you can read about anywhere, the Dolphins coaches and players - led by a member of the teams Leadership Council decided to make second-year player, Jonathan Martin the target of racist rants, monetary extortion and threats to his life and the well-being of his mother.
The coaches, according to the November 6th edition of The Orlando Sentinel, encouraged offensive guard Richie Incognito to "toughen up" Martin last spring.
It seems that Incognito - who has often been named by other NFL players as the dirtiest player in the league - took this charge as an opportunity to render Mr. Martin incapable of continuing to work as a player for the Dolphins.
Martin is now gone, Incognito has been suspended by the Dolphins (who are now in panic-mode as the NFL investigates) and shockingly, Dolphins players are coming to the defense of Incognito as being some sort of enforcer of the code of manliness required of NFL players.
You can read the quotes by team stars like Cameron Wake and Mike Wallace for yourself.
You can also read how Dolphins players routinely force younger players to pay for lavish parties and engage in other humiliating endeavors, all for the "rite of passage" the veterans believe should be imposed upon them.
As a former football player and sports agent with the National Football League Players Association, I have heard about, and know about, the culture of football lockerrooms.
It is normal for older players to jokingly pick on younger ones for a little while. Making the rookies sing their school song during lunch, or carry the bags of veterans is pretty common.
Threatening to kill a teammate while calling him a "half-n........" is not common. Endorsing this behavior is also not common - unless you are lacking in character and virtue, which the Dolphins - from ownership down to the players - seemingly are.
In 1975 I picked the Miami Dolphins as my favorite team. For exactly 38 1/2 seasons I have watched the Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and Dan Marino teams play with class. After Marino left in 2000 I spent the next 11 years watching teams led by players like Jay Fiedler and Chad Pennington lose many more games than they won, but always with no sign that the team was filled with characterless losers.
Last year I spent part of August watching HBO's "Hard Knocks" - a documentary about the 2012 Dolphins. Every night I came in angry, telling my wife and kids that it seemed like the Dolphins had a bunch of undisciplined losers in their ranks, with coaches who did not seem to care about the character of the players. But still I watched my team through another losing season.
In December of last year I had a chance to go to Miami and meet many members of the 1972 Dolphins. I also met and talked with the current owner of the team, Stephen Ross. When I mentioned to him that the Dolphins seemed to not have the same character and leadership of the old Dolphins he said, "Well, winning takes care of a lot of things." Wrong, Mr. Ross. Winning games while losing your virtue means nothing.
Eight games into this season my instincts have been proven to be correct. The 2013 Miami Dolphins are losers. Real losers.
It does not matter than their record is 4-4. The teams record as men is 0-8.
I told my son that as long as the Dolphins are owned by, coached by and represented by the current group of dishonorable men I will not watch them for one second.
I hope he understands that, as Teddy Roosevelt once said, "The one indispensable requisite of an individual, and a nation, is character."
As long as the Miami Dolphins have none, they will receive no hypocritical support in my home.