Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland's sports legacy will always be that of the guy who asked a prospective player if his mom was a whore, and there's no evidence to suggest it will ever be anything more than that. The current Dolphins mess centering on race-baiting potato Richie Incognito, just the latest off-the-field scandal for the team under Ireland's leadership, now adds an asterisk of hypocrisy to that legacy.
If Ireland had any decency, he'd resign immediately, and if he doesn't, well, it's high time owner Stephen Ross shows him the door.
Ireland asking Dez Bryant if his mother was a whore is now part of sports lore. Occasionally someone in the Dolphins media will try to absolve Ireland of criticism by pointing to Bryant's ongoing behavioral issues, but it's ridiculous to think Ireland is a good judge of a player's character or in any position to evaluate people by that measure. Let's look at some of the Dolphins players who were brought in under Ireland's tenure and who went astray under his watch:
- Phillip Merling, drafted in Ireland's first year while he was still under the wing of Bill Parcells, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly hitting a pregnant woman.
- In 2010, Troy McDaniels, signed just the season prior, was arrested for domestic battery following a fight with his girlfriend.
- Signed in 2010, Brandon Marshall was involved in a domestic violence incident that ended with his wife stabbing him.
- Drafted in 2010, Koa Misi was arrested in 2012 by a fugitive squad on an out-of-state arrest warrant. He's still on the team.
- Signed in 2012, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson was let go from the team latter that off-season after head butting his wife Evelyn Lozada.
- Jonathan Amaya played with the Dolphins in two stints during 2010 and 2012, but during that last stint he was arrested for allegedly choking out a taxi driver on Miami Beach.
Of course, now Ireland is hoping that Mike Pouncey escapes his connection to accused murderer Aaron Hernandez with just a subpoena, And he is dealing with the fallout from the Incognito-Martin situation.
The Incognito signing was particularly troubling in light of "Moms-a-whore?"-gate. Incognito came to the Dolphins with so many red flags he looked like a walking Chinese pride festival. He was known as the "dirtiest player in the game," and partied, drank and smoked pot during the season. He was let go from not one but two college programs due to behavioral issues. An NFL media profile from earlier this year tried to paint Incognito as a reformed Paxil pippin', Lana Del Rey listening', burgeoning Zen master, but its now clear his issues never fully subsided under Ireland's watch.
Of course, this is the NFL. Players get arrested all the time (though the Dolphins recent streak of violent arrests do stand out). GMs or even coaches aren't there to hold their players' hands through every step of life. They're grown ass men after all, but Ireland's failure to spot character red flags only speaks to his inability to properly judge talent.
The original "#Fireland" movement centered on his inability to judge talent on their actions on the field. That legacy, with underperforming draft classes and free agent busts, is well documented.
Add that to the time Ireland called a fan an "asshole," his botched relations with former Dolphins icons, and his mishandling of the courtship of several prospective coaches and Peyton Manning, and its hard to see anything positive about Ireland's tenure.
If the Incognito affair isn't the last straw for owner Stephen Ross, we're not sure what possibly could be. If we were Ireland we'd resign before we found out.
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As for the fate of coach Joe Philbin, well, the team's never-ending coaching carousel makes us wary at the moment of calling for his immediate ouster. Let's just say we'd be pleased to leave that decision in the hands of a more capable general manager.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.