Earlier today, John Denney, long-snapper and NFLPA Players Union Representative for the Miami Dolphins, spoke to the South Florida media regarding the Wells report.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Denney said that he never read the report but the whole thing nauseated him from the beginning. More specifically, Denney said that Wells would’ve found the same behavior in every other NFL locker room and that he never witnessed anything over the line. Denney also said that since Wells was getting paid by the NFL, there was no way he could go back and tell them he didn’t find anything wrong.
Denney told Chris Perkins on the Sun-Sentinel that he hasn’t heard whether or not the union would fight any suspensions that may arise from the report. When asked if Jonathan Martin would be allowed back in the Miami locker room, Denney said that they would cross that bridge when we they get there. The translation to that? No, not a chance!
These comments are good news for the Dolphins. The team has been criticized by many over the past several months for not doing enough in response to the controversy. I have reported for several months that the Dolphins didn’t think it was as big a deal as everyone was making it out to be which is why they were so passive in addressing it. This confirms that. It also sheds light into what the locker room thinks of the situation. Before the report came out, we heard numerous players back Incognito. Now that it is out, we are still hearing the same things from the players. If it was really that bad, players would be saying different things now in order to cover themselves in both the public relations department and for possible discipline.
This also seems to be good news for Mike Pouncey, who was named in the report as one of the main instigators. Many expect Pouncey to be suspended for his actions, but with a union representative speaking out, it shows that the NFLPA most likely won’t back down from a fight against the NFL. Due to the fact that the NFL has an image to maintain, I fully expect Pouncey to be suspended for at least six games. However, with the NFLPA fighting for him, that should get reduced to a maximum of three games. It’s also possible that the NFL simply fines Pouncey and puts him on probation for his actions which would obviously be the best case scenario.
Joe Philbin didn’t want to fire former offensive line coach Jim Turner. He didn’t want to fire one of the best trainers in the league, Kevin O’Neill. Yet, the media and the NFL blew this story way out of proportion, so there were people who had to take the fall for this and it has ruined their lives and careers.
Martin had a mental illness, and he didn’t get it treated the proper way. Due to his inability and stubbornness to get help, it affected so many other people, their families and their friends. Had he gone about this the proper way, this wouldn’t have been an issue and it would have been resolved in-house without the public embarrassment and controversy.
It is now up to Philbin, Dennis Hickey and the rest of the Dolphins coaching staff and players to move past this report and look forward to the 2014 season. While there are still many more storylines to come out of this, the worst is over and the healing process can slowly begin.