Miami Dolphins' Lack of Discipline Inexcusable

Scott AltmanCorrespondent IJune 22, 2010

DAVIE, FL - JUNE 06: Rookie defensive end Phillip Merling #97 during practice on during Miami Dolphins Mini Camp on May 2, 2008 at the Dolphins practice facility in Davie, Florida.   (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Congratulations, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, you have been officially usurped.

The NFL has a new gang of bad boys, and they hail from South Beach.

Ronnie Brown, Will Allen, Tony McDaniel, and Phillip Merling have all made national headlines for their run-ins with the law. And let's not forget about Jeff Ireland's mishap earlier this year, or the baggage that newcomers Brandon Marshall and Richie Incognito drag into the locker room.

It's troubling to watch players like Brown and Allen in handcuffs when they have been nothing but role models for the Miami community.

But the lack of discipline the Dolphins have taken with these players is even more troubling. Two DUIs, battery, and domestic violence appear to most as punishable crimes, but the Dolphins appear to disagree.

Granted, the NFL will likely investigate these cases and hand down suspensions or fines where they deem necessary, it still seems unprincipled of the organization to allow these players to go on without so much as a slap on the wrist, much less allow Merling to practice the morning after his arrest.

And by no coincidence, it was Merling's case and the team's handling of the situation that had local and national media shining the spotlight on the franchise.  

After all, Merling hit his pregnant girlfriend five times, which by all accounts is an absolutely heinous crime.

Foxsports.com writer Alex Marvez took particular issue with the Dolphins' lax attitude, especially towards the double standard Bill Parcells has set and the absence of the team's female owners to speak out.

When Parcells arrived in Miami in 2008, he explained his stance on troublemakers. "I don't want thugs and hoodlums on the team," he said. "I don't want bad character guys. I don't want problem children."

Three years, many arrests, and two "problem children" acquisitions later, Parcells has crossed the line he drew in the sand, and we have yet to hear a peep from him.

Meanwhile, the team's female owners, Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Lopez, and Gloria Estefan, have all remained completely silent on the matter.  

They have their own careers to attend to, but with stakes in an NFL franchise comes a responsibility to uphold its reputation. All four of these women have yet to do so, and more importantly, have not spoken out against Merling's physical abuse of a pregnant woman.

Simply put, the actions of the Dolphins organization from top to bottom are inexcusable. Winning football games is great, but losing the respect of fans is something that can't be fixed with a winning streak or a playoff berth.

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