The Miami Dolphins dysfunctional workplace has been a popular topic of conversation over the past several months, culminating in the release of the Ted Wells report last week. In light of the detailed findings of the report, head coach Joe Philbin has vowed to address the toxic work environment that has flourished unchecked in the Dolphins locker room.
The lengthy report created by Wells confirmed a systematic pattern of abuse and harassment against Jonathan Martin and two other individuals, including an assistant trainer. The primary culprit was offensive lineman Richie Incognito, but the report also named Mike Pouncey and John Jerry as accessories. This treatment caused Martin to leave the team dramatically in October, checking himself into a mental health facility.
The Dolphins organization has taken immediate action in the face of the public relations nightmare, dismissing offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O’Neill in the wake of the findings. The report has determined both coaches were aware of the harassment, with Turner even participating in at least one instance.
Philbin has managed to slip the noose for the moment, and recently addressed the findings of the Wells report for the first time publicly:
“We’re going to do things about it, we’re going to make it better,” Philbin told reporters. “We’re going to look at every avenue, we’re going to uncover every stone and we’re going to have a better workplace. I promise you that. I’m going to make sure that happens. When I read the report… some of the facts, the behavior and the language that was outlined in the report is inappropriate and it’s unacceptable.”
The Wells report did not implicate Philbin in any way, and actually commended the Dolphins head coach, commenting on his promotion of “integrity and accountability” in the organization. However, some have been critical of Philbin, suggesting this very accountability means he should not have been quite as oblivious to the apparently ugly locker room culture in Miami. Philbin spoke of his responsibility to the team and organization:
“I want everybody to know I am the one who is responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins’ facility,” said Philbin. “I’m the one that sets the schedule. I decide when the practices are. I decide what time players eat, how they meet, when they lift, everything they do at the facility.”
This story is not going away any time soon, as the entire NFL is now under the microscope regarding the workplace environment cultivated for its employees. The Dolphins dysfunction has been exposed, but is this type of behavior limited to just one organization?