To say “Embarrassed” when referring to Stephen Ross is the understatement of the year. And this about a man who has endured Harbaugh-Gate, Florida Reunion-Gate, and Bill Parcells. That is exactly what he said tonight as he spent fifteen minutes talking with media regarding the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito tryst.
Ross called this entire situation a “nightmare” and even apologized to the fan base for the embarrassment of what is going on. He called it appalling.
The Miami Dolphins owner went as far as to say that he will be meeting with Jonathan Martin personally on Wednesday to see how he is and how this happened and how it can be prevented in the future. When asked about Richie Incognito and whether he will meet with him Ross didn’t comment only to say that the team will not tolerate bullying or racial injustice.
Ross also seemed to fully and 100% support head coach Joe Philbin according to two of Miami’s newspapers but fell much shorter on showing any signs of support for his GM, Jeff Ireland.
“Changes need to be made. We have to look at ourselves. We have to examine everything internally.”
Many in the media believe that Ireland will lose his job over this despite the fact that it’s unlikely he actually knew much about it despite recent reports to the contrary. In fact, Joe Philbin likely knew more if any at all of the issue over Ireland. Still, popular opinion is that Ross is completely on board with his head coach.
Ross said that there will be “no racial slurs or bullying in or outside of ‘that’ locker room” and he vowed to make this organization the best in the league.
While the NFL readies to investigate the situation through a third party, it was Ross who requested the NFL’s involvement, he is also going to have two more internal investigations as well. Ross told reporters tonight that the team has asked Dawn Aponte, Jeff Ireland, Joe Philbin, and new CEO Tom Garfinkel to look into the teams policies. The 2nd “investigation” is far more impressive with Don Shula, Jason Taylor, Dan Marino, Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin and former head coach Tony Dungy to look into “locker room” behavior at the teams facility.
The players claim to be rallying around the media backlash and are said to be “pissed off”. Determined to take their frustrations onto the field in a positive way. The additions of the two new investigations may simply add more chaos to an already volatile situation but for Ross, there are little other options to use. The debacle in Miami is the single most embarrassing issue in team history and Ross’ approach to diffusing future issues needs to be quick and public. Despite popular fan opinion, Ross is a very well respected member of the NFL ownership fraternity and he has likely reached out privately to owners Tom Benson of New Orleans and Bob Kraft of New England for advice considering both have gone through very public image problems.
How soon changes will come to Miami internally will depend on what the investigators find on all levels and who exactly was involved or at fault or had knowledge of the situation. For now, regardless of what is reported in the media, every outcome will be based on the investigative reports.