Jarrett Bell, USA NOWADAYS Sports 6: 18 p. m. EST November 11, 2013
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Sure, Ross must have spoken to the public in the flesh — rather than through the statements issued by the team last week — way before now.
What he strongly declared during a press conference before the Dolphins’ nationally-televised game at Tampa, could have been said when the problem first hit the fan.
This situation begged for it, plus crisis management pros will tell you that it’s advisable to get in front of a scandal, ASAP.
Better past due than never.
Ross said that, like me, he was appalled by the use of the racial slurs — not only in the text message from suspended guard Richie Incognito, but in the particular workplace environment that is the Dolphins locker room.
He did not jump to conclusions, stating the need to collect more facts, which will include a private meeting with Martin on Wednesday.
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Martin, a second-year deal with from Stanford whom the Dolphins invested a second-round pick on, has been with family and sought guidance.
Ross pledged there would be changes, including the formulation of an advisory committee with some of the most recognized people in the NFL community: Put on Shula, Tony Dungy, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Matn.
That doesn’t strike me as some sort PR move. It is a humble and can-do act of someone seeking assistance, genuinely trying to understand input that can help formulate long-term options that include creating the right environment.
He apologized to their fan base for the mess, and explained why he sought input from the NFL to launch an independent analysis.
He gave coach Joe Philbin props… and even stated Hard Knocks , the HBO series in which the Dolphins appeared this year.
But it was one of the first things that Ross declared that resonated the most. He said that he cares about Martin, who evidently was so troubled by the environment that he did what football players rarely do on their own — he walked away.
“Every voice, every person, needs to be heard, inch Ross said. “Obviously, there was a voice that wasn’t being heard. ”
Ross got the proper response that countered Incognito’s incomplete attempt during his damage-control interview with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Dolphins players — including the weak, would-be frontrunners who painted Martin as a teammate unworthy of empathy and expressed no such remorse about the ethnic insensitivity attached to the case — determined narrative that cast Incognito like a sympathetic figure with their comments a week ago.
Well that, as well, has been turned on its head.
There’s hope for the Dolphins. With such high-profile attention cast toward how they will respond to this episode, Ross put his name plus reputation on the line.
He insists they will learn and grow from this.
Better yet, they have the power to demand that the tradition changes.
So the money won’t stop with Philbin or even embattled GM Jeff Ireland.
The accountability will mix the desk of the man in whose opinion matters most within the Dolphins organization, the man who committed one hundred dollar million during an offseason free agent spending spree.
This also has the potential to send an effective message, given the NFL’s extensive platform, about the social leadership that will teams have within their power to demonstrate.
Ross is to be congratulated for finally stepping up to put their face on the issue.
He sounded genuine enough.
Now let’s see how he ensures that others are held accountable — and that the changes he promises result in an NFL workplace environment that reflects a progressive modern society.