The Miami Dolphins bullying story sure went away.
For the NFL, that was always the goal: To let the situation burn out. Dissipate.
That's why the Dolphins had to ditch Richie Incognito, the main culprit. If Incognito is around, he's the primary story every week.
Now, it's like it never happened. Shameful, but true. The media has moved on. The mainstream media found something else, and the NFL owns those who cover football. Every news outlet did its feature, and now it's done.
Jonathan Martin will play for another team next year. That team will treat him with kid gloves, turning Martin's story favorable.
Incognito will play for another team next year. He will be presented as "reformed." But he won't be "reformed." You can't "reform" a farm animal.
The Dolphins will make some management changes.
The NFL's locker-room culture won't change. It will just be even more closely guarded.
That's it. Story over. The media stops digging.
The Dolphins visit Pittsburgh this Sunday. The Dolphins should send Mike Tomlin a thank-you note. The Tomlin two-step is this week’s issue. Forget bullying.
Photos Courtesy of Getty Images
Which goal is better? Vote, please, in the poll at left.
Here's what I think really happened:
The Steelers kicked off. Mike Tomlin stood where he always stands, to watch the return on the scoreboard like he always does. Baltimore's Jacoby Jones broke free and headed down the Steelers' sideline, right toward Tomlin.
Tomlin appraised the situation on the Jumbotron. He saw Jones approaching. Tomlin glanced over his shoulder. Tomlin judged that Jones was likely to score a touchdown, and likely to terminate the Steelers' chances of winning.
So Tomlin got in Jones' way. Tomlin was more obvious than he wanted, and got closer to Jones than he wanted. Tomlin's actions were not premeditated. They were impulsive. But I have zero doubt Tomlin meant to obstruct Jones.
It's manslaughter, not first-degree murder. But Tomlin is guilty.
I heard what Tomlin said. I choose to believe what I saw. Watch the KDKA-TV video that got shot from behind the return. Tomlin jumps toward Jones before shrinking away, and does so at the precise moment when Jones would be most impeded. If that's coincidence, it’s one heck of a coincidence.
Tomlin was standing where he shouldn't have. The NFL must punish the act, not judge the intent. But, upon further review, the intent seems obvious.
UPDATE: The NFL fined Tomlin $100K. The Steelers may yet lose a draft pick; that will be ruled upon once the 2014 draft order is determined.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
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