Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has taken a lot of heat for his role, or lack thereof, in the harassment controversy involving Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito and other members of the organization. He states it won't be allowed to happen again under his watch.
Philbin took his turn in front of the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. Predictably, he was surrounded by a large gathering of reporters and asked about the situation following the results of attorney Ted Wells' investigation into the matter.
The Dolphins passed along Philbin's comments via Twitter. After accepting responsibility for the workplace environment in Miami, he expressed his disgust with Wells' findings:
Philbin: "The behavior in the (Ted Wells) report was inappropriate and unacceptable."— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) February 20, 2014
He went on to say his task moving forward is to "create a better atmosphere and better environment." The plan of attack to make sure the team is able to follow through with that is being more active around the facility to make his presence felt:
Philbin: "I'm going to be more vigilant, more diligent, more visible, and I'm going to have a better pulse (of this team)."— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) February 20, 2014
It's the second straight day in which Philbin was forced to comment about the matter. On Wednesday, after the team fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill, he talked about building a culture of respect (via Fox Sports):
Official statement from the Dolphins/Head Coach Joe Philbin regarding Jim Turner & Kevin O'Neill being let go: pic.twitter.com/LVbrD2b7Rn— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 20, 2014
Although Philbin said all the right things about what the Dolphins organization is planning to do in the future, there weren't a lot of answers as to why the situation reached a breaking point in the first place. In other words, there were no groundbreaking remarks about the subject.
For Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer, the comments reminded him of how former North Carolina head coach Butch Davis responded after a scandal broke on his watch:
Listening to Joe Philbin today he sounded a lotttt like Butch Davis once the UNC agent scandal broke— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 20, 2014
Are Philbin's comments a step in the right direction?
The Dolphins are clearly trying to do everything in their power, from dismissals to public comments, to make the story fade away as soon as possible. The longer it continues to linger, the bigger of a distraction it becomes looking toward the 2014 season.
Philbin is going to take a more hands-on approach moving forward. Only time will tell whether that actually works to quell any locker-room issues. It sounds good on paper, but actions are always going to speak louder than well-crafted words.
As for the controversy itself, it will likely remain on the back burner barring any further developments. The Dolphins aren't out of the spotlight quite yet, though.