Dolphins call to say they weren’t trying to squelch dissent
The Dolphins aren’t comfortable with the perception that they’re trying to quell dissent in their locker room, amid decisions that aren’t necessarily popular there.
After we wrote this morning that they were sensitive to player criticism of personnel moves, something coach Joe Philbin has cautioned his players about, the team reached out to PFT.
Senior vice president of media relations Harvey Greene called to clarify a point.
It was suggested in Barry Jackson’s Miami Herald story (which our report was based on) that a Dolphins publicist, “unaware of the topic,” ended an interview with Reggie Bush as he told Jackson the trade of Vontae Davis was “tough.”
Greene explained that his objection to Bush talking was based on scheduling issues, rather than content. Bush has asked to reduce his media commitment by talking once a week, and had talked the day before. So when Jackson approached him and began to ask questions, another writer mentioned to Greene that Bush was going off the script.
Greene also pointed out that all the defensive backs were available, including Davis’ close friend Sean Smith, so there was no deliberate effort to conceal hard feelings about Davis’ departure.
“We do everything we can do to make sure everyone’s treated evenly and fairly,” Greene said.
Greene’s a pro. He’s been doing this a long time, and is regarded as one of the most helpful P.R. directors in the league. And he worked for George Steinbrenner, so he knows how to do the limbo to get out of uncomfortable situations.
We also talked to Jackson, who hadn’t been in the locker room the day Bush was scheduled to talk, while he was making preparations for Tropical Storm Isaac.
If Bush didn’t want to talk to Jackson, he could have easily said: “Hey, Barry, I talked yesterday. So no thanks.”
But he talked. Locker room interviews are by nature voluntary, and if Bush minded, he didn’t express any unwillingness to answer questions to Jackson.
I’m willing to accept that the Dolphins didn’t swoop in from above on Jackson in an effort to police the truth, but that doesn’t change the salient point here.
Philbin and his new coaching staff is sensitive about players criticizing their decisions.
At the same time, that same staff volunteered for a behind-the-scenes reality show, a staple of which is coaches criticizing the performance of players, often in quite colorful terms.
I’ve heard from enough writers I trust who have worked with Philbin over the years to believe he’s an honest and principled man. That is not universal within the coaching profession.
He’s just trying a little too hard in this case to put the toothpaste back in the tube, and to keep players from espousing opinions that don’t follow the company line.