Bill Polian removes the anonymity from Richie Incognito
On today’s Mike & Mike in the Morning with Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg on ESPN radio, Polian joined the duo to discuss the Dolphins and the Richie Incognito – Jonathan Martin harassment/bullying/extortion episode that’s adding a slash line to raise the litany of charges by the day. You can listen to Polian’s appearance here, but the gist of it was this: he didn’t have players like Incognito on his teams because he didn’t draft or sign them. It was a conscious decision not to sacrifice his beliefs in the interest of having a 315 pound offensive lineman who might help his team on the field, but could cause problems and continuous headaches off the field.
What set Polian off on his sharply worded and blunt assessment of the Dolphins situation was Greenberg referencing a column on ESPN.com by Tim Keown saying that NFL teams "love" a player like Incognito because they’re the players who will help them win.
Polian’s response stopped short of openly scoffing at Keown’s assertions, but given the forcefulness of it – “He’s 100 percent wrong.” – it might have been better for Keown if Polian had been dismissive of the analysis of someone who has never been in Polian’s position. Keown is a writer, not a football guy. He hasn’t been in the trenches, so his judgment of the situation won’t be as poignant and credible as that of Polian. Keown’s piece, while well-written, had the conclusion wrapped up from the start and sought to explain – if not justify – why the Dolphins tolerated Incognito.
If you draft or sign horrible human beings and allow them to run roughshod over any pretense of acceptable behavior and put winning above human decency, that’s what you get. If the coaches and front office are either ignorant or, worse, executing a “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy of what goes on in their organization, then this type of situation is not the sole responsibility of the players, it’s the Dolphins as a whole who didn’t have the presence of mind to make sure their players were in a safe and positive work environment.