Just When the Dolphins Were Feeling Good, Jeff Ireland Opens His Mouth

Aaron Nagler@Aaron_NaglerNFL National Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2012

You're the Miami Dolphins. You've spent the better part of the offseason being seen as a joke, as a franchise who can't attract free agents or top-tier head coaching candidates. You've traded away a bunch of talent and are clearly in an all-out rebuilding mode. Your owner seems more concerned with marketing than actually building a winning team. The fanbase held a rally in support of the idea that said owner should fire the general manager. 

Oh, and that general manager is a walking PR disaster.

That's right. Jeff Ireland, he of the infamous "Is your mother a prostitute?" question to Dez Bryant during the pre-draft process a few years ago, is making headlines again for saying something stupid. 

Per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Ireland was walking through Sun Life Stadium at halftime of Miami's game against Oakland. As you might expect, the odd fan recognized him and spoke to him, some asking for autographs, some just exchanging pleasantries.

Until, again, per Salguero:

...he headed back to his seat where he watches the game. Before he got there another fan called him over and Ireland, believing he was about to exchange more pleasantries, found himself listening to the fan complaining about his work. 

That fan complained to Ireland about what he said was his poor management of the team. And at one point that fan said to Ireland, "We need you to fire yourself."

According to everyone I've talked to including team officials, Ireland responded by using the term "a--hole" either directed at the fan or loud enough for the fan to hear as he walked away.

After Salguero posted the above, Ireland phoned him to admit that he did indeed call the fan an "asshole."

It did happen at halftime and I was going back to my booth after seeing my wife and I did talk to several fans that were very nice. But as I'm walking back this guy introduces himself to me and says I should fire myself.

It caught me off guard. I just turned and walked away but I did say the word. I regret I used the word I used. I thought I was using it under my breath. I guess I kind of said it loud enough that he could hear it. I literally said it under my breath. At the time I felt I handled the situation pretty good. Probably muttered it a little too loud. I regret that I said anything.

This is just sad.

Rather than talking about how the Dolphins, a team that will be lucky to win five games all year, beat the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday, much of the conversation in Miami will now center on Ireland's unfortunate word choice.

Why Dolphins owner Stephen Ross kept Ireland around after firing former head coach Tony Sparano is a mystery to me. I'm sure fans of this flailing franchise will enlighten me in the comments section as to the many virtues Ireland possesses that I am missing, because I know they aren't his ability to recognize and procure talent in the draft or his deft handling of the free-agent market.

It's pretty clear being a people person isn't one of them either.