Sunday, November 10, 2013

For the Want of Real Leaders, N.F.L. Culture Will Stay Lost

We’ll have time to ponder possible solutions when, in an extreme case of bad luck for the N.F.L., the Dolphins play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on “Monday Night Football.” That game will showcase the league’s two most dysfunctional teams.The Bucs are winless. Their players are ready to mutiny against their unpopular coach, Greg Schiano. Staph infections have swept through their locker room this season. Despite all that, the Dolphins probably would give anything to trade places with the Bucs right now. After all, there are proven remedies to the Bucs’ problems.Buy cheap Grade AAA MICHAEL KORS Handbags, Custom Fit Stripe Shirt and more. Win a game. Replace the coach. Disinfect the locker room. Move on.The Dolphins’ case is much more complicated.Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, has promised to get to the bottom of the Incognito-Martin situation. He hired what he called an independent investigator to learn the details, to uncover who knew what and when, Best Dsquared Long T-Shirts. and to find out how a player had come to feel so bullied that he left the team. Goodell would also want to know how it all could happen under the watch of coaches who often make it their business to know what’s going on in the locker room.Given the investigator’s findings, Goodell should be able to create rules to prevent a similar situation from happening again. If bullying is found, he should be aggressive about making changes, if only to protect the league’s brand. But will he? And if he does, when?Look at this quotation from Goodell: “We are changing the culture of our game for the better.” Sounds good, right? But he didn’t say that this week, or even this month. He said it in 2009 during congressional hearings as the league was getting pummeled for its denials about football-related concussions. It took the N.F.L. years even to acknowledge that head injuries posed a serious problem for its sport, and that was an issue dealing with life and death. So perhaps people should think twice about putting their trust in Goodell this time around,Sexy Lingerie Factory in trying to fix this problem that upon first glance seems ingrained in the league’s culture. 

Looking to Dolphins coaches probably won’t help much, either. They can’t win here. Coach Joe Philbin should be blamed for encouraging aggressive behavior or turning a blind eye to it. If neither he nor his staff had any idea that Martin was feeling cornered by Incognito — which is a long shot, since coaches often have spies within the team to monitor team chemistry — those coaches should be blamed for their ignorance.welcome to high quality oakley Grade AAA sunglasses,Free shipping‎!And don’t expect Stephen Ross, the 73-year-old billionaire owner, to change a thing to bring more professionalism to his team’s locker room. He’s not around nearly as much as the owner Jerry Jones is with the Dallas Cowboys, and look how well Jones has kept his team under control. Less than two months after a Cowboy died after a teammate drove drunk, yet another Cowboy was charged with drunken driving early this year. So much for lessons learned.Unfortunately, there is only one sure way to rid a locker room of racial discrimination, bullying, extortion or whatever hazing-gone-bad the Dolphins may be guilty of — and that is to change the team’s locker room culture from the inside out. That would mean the players have to get on board. And that includes those players who came to Incognito’s defense. They called him a leader, a funny guy whose actions are just part of a team’s fabric. 

But that’s expected. It’s what teams do, even in the face of a teammate’s bad behavior. Teams stand as one, bound by the same toughness and togetherness that Incognito was supposedly instilling in Martin. Teams tend to stay true to that code of brotherhood,Buy High quality Coach Grade Sunglasses, Custom Fit Stripe Shirt and more. even if it taints their reputation or possibly hurts others.Remember in 2009, when Alex Rodriguez apologized for doping? His Yankee teammates didn’t speak up or urge Major League Baseball to punish him more severely. No, they just sat stone-faced at Rodriguez’s news conference and listened to an admitted cheat. Good guy Derek Jeter, the longtime team captain, was front and center in the audience to show his support, even though Rodriguez’s confession tainted him and every other player in the game. In baseball, it was called having Rodriguez’s back.

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