By now most of the football world has heard about Jeff Ireland's ill conceived question to Dez Bryant regarding whether or not his mother was a prostitute. Exactly what the context was or the reasoning behind the question is something that can be debated, but it will never be resolved.
The reality is that many general managers had questions about Bryant's mother and it's common practice to poke and prod players for any number of reasons; if even just to gauge their reaction.
That isn't to say Ireland didn't take it a step too far, he surely could have been more tactful in his interrogation. But on the flipside, the national reaction has gone overboard in its condemnation and vilification of the Dolphins general manager.
If this was an isolated incident, rather than a developing trend, Ireland wouldn't be at the center of so much scrutiny. If he hadn't just taken so much negative heat for the handling of the Jason Taylor situation, or been openly called out by former Dolphin great Zach Thomas, Ireland probably would have remained out of the spotlight.
As more and more of these stories continue to surface though, the players, media, and fans are starting to realize that a pattern of behavior is emerging that can't simply be ignored each time it comes up.
When the Dolphins released Thomas within the first few weeks of the Bill Parcells era it seemed harsh, but was understandable. Thomas was an aging veteran with a history of concussions and an inflated contract.
Thomas recently came forward and admitted that after he'd been released he asked if he could have a press conference simply to say farewell to the fans. In response, he was flatly told no; that the Dolphins facilities were for players only. That's the kind of disrespect that shouldn't be given to an icon of the franchise.
That same token goes for Jason Taylor. Whether or not the Dolphins should have re-signed him is besides the point. If they didn't feel he was a good fit for the team, that's their decision to make, but there's something to be said about the way it all went down. If Parcells and Co. didn't wan't him back, they should have made it clear months ago and moved on.
Instead, they dragged out the situation for as long as they could. They made an offer in November and then retracted it, followed by an insulting offer after the season. Then they arranged a meeting with Tony Sparano before the draft and cancelled it, and ultimately drove Taylor out the door and straight to New York.
Taylor said he felt disrespected, when the truth is he was straight up insulted. He may not be a "Parcells guy," but when it comes down to it, you simply do not treat franchise greats in that manner. He deserved more.
It seems the trifecta put themselves above such standards though, and their perceived arrogance has been noted on more occasions than that.
When free agent safety Ryan Clark abruptly canceled his trip to Davie halfway through the scheduled visit, and instead returned to Pittsburgh to re-sign with the Steelers, he might have done so out of more than loyalty to the franchise that gave him his first shot.
He might have felt uncomfortable with the organization; a very real possibility.
Each of these incidents alone doesn't mean much, but together they paint a bigger picture that isn't as bright as the future of this franchise appears.
For as much as the front office has done to bring in talent and reinvent this roster, and for all the positives that have emerged on the field, there are reasonable concerns that this franchise is developing a poor reputation for player-friendliness.
If it continues, agents might steer their clients away, and coaches and scouts could look toward greener pastures.
The Dez Bryant situation put the microscope over Jeff Ireland and the football world is taking a much closer look into his every move.
How he reacts to all this will have a bigger impact on the future of this franchise than you might think.