The Sports Daily > Phins Phocus
Dolphins fans caught in a crossfire over internal strife in Davie

For the Miami Dolphins, winning on Thursday versus the Bengals showed that they are a resilent team.  For the Dolphins to win that game despite the mystery that surrounded Jonathan Martin's exit and played better with out him showed the media and the fans that the Dolphins are back again.  

However, winning the game versus the Bengals was not the most important topic and Cam Wake's game winning sack resulting in a safety faded quickly into the back ground.  

The sack was a big deal at first to the NFL network's panel of analysts, but then Rich Eisen's mood changed and he asked about Jonathan Martin and asked Cam Wake point blank his thoughts.  Wake diplomatically said all the right things and moved on from the topic quickly using words like brother, teammate, and winning the game for him all in the same statement.  

At this point, most Dolphins fans went to sleep dreaming about the game and seeing all the headlines pop up over Twitter and the internet about Wake's famous sack and only the third time ever a game has been won because of a safety.

Today, many new issues have come to light about one player in particular: Richie Incognito.  Incognito has been perceived as a dirty player on the field, but his antics in the locker room have now become part of the reports from various local and national organizations.  This well after Incognito shared his text messages with Jeff Darlington on Friday about how he was very complimentary to Jonathan Martin and that Martin was not mad at Richie saying that the teammates were not to blame for his abrupt exit, but rather "the culture around the NFL."  

Incognito still even this morning, is being blamed for the exit of Martin and Martin (through his agents) saying that Incognito is the ring leader of the alleged "bullying."  

Various reports from Adam Schefter have highlighted the antics of Incognito in paying for a Vegas trip that Martin didn't even want to go on.  As Armando Salguero put it lightly: "Rich men stealing lunch money."

What's more proposterous is the Miami Dolphins statement:

"The Miami Dolphins, including Coach Joe Philbin and Jonathan's teammates, have been in communication with Jonathan and his family since his departure from the club and continue to be in contact. Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being. As an organization, we take any accusations of player misconduct seriously. The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally. The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate. Additionally, the NFL offered its assistance during this time, which we appreciated and gladly accepted. We will continue to make Jonathan's health and well-being a focus as we do with all of our players."

After putting out this statement, the Dolphins opened themselves up to criticism because the statement reveals that there is a problem with Martin, but not with the locker room.  In fact, even though the NFLPA may have talked to Incognito and Dolphins management, little is known whether there was a true investigation in Miami.  The words health and well-being make Jonathan Martin's situation a bit more ominous since they fail to address or come forward and say exactly what happened in Miami.  Perhaps the fan and the media will never know exactly what happened because this is a private matter.  However, with media and social media able to put out stories of what happened, the Dolphins look like they have egg on their face and have failed to provide a safe environment for any player or employee.

As the Dolphins move forward in the weeks ahead, this story may or may not go away the longer that Martin is away from the team and all activities.  If Martin truly feels that he won't be welcomed into the locker room then there is a problem.  It's really unfortuante that the Dolphins' offensive line seems to have more dysfunction than any other unit, but there is a cause for concern if tantics have been happening in the past.  It's a cause for concern to question first and foremost the leadership of Jeff Ireland and Dawn Aponte.  It's a major cause for concern if head coach Joe Philbin has failed to provide a safe and sound environment consistent with his own philosophy of "falling in line."  Does Richie Incognito look like he fell in line with team rules?  Does Joe Philbin have a control of what's going on or is he more concerned about the film room and the Dolphins next opponent?  

Has the warm and fuzzy and caring coach that has been compared to Tony Dungy gone by the way side and has concerned himself with staying out of the players business so much so that players are feeling a pinch in their self worth?  Is he only concerning himself with winning?

There are more questions than answers in Miami.  For the fans that have seen this movie long enough, we know it doesnt end well.  At 4-4, this team was capable and is capable of so much more, but a rift in the locker room is the last thing any one needs.  At the end of the season, Stephen Ross, the owner and the decision maker will have his say.  He will have his say, because enough is enough and getting the right GM and coach for this team is certainly the fans and players of this team should get.  However, if the problems aren't addressed head on, forget future free-agents taking their talents to South Beach if they don't feel the organizational structure is strong in Miami.  It's been said before by Peyton Manning's people, were they far off?  You be the judge and we will all be in a matter of months.