ESPN Ticker

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Former Dolphins player says locker room was "normal"

Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (left) and tackle Jonathan Martin (right) earlier this year. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
 Note: I am avid Miami Dolphins fan as well as a Richie Incogntio fan. I tried to present the facts as well as the opinions of others in an objective way.

With Monday night’s loss to the previously winless Buccaneers, the Miami Dolphins continued to be embarrassed in front of a national audience. While the Dolphins have struggled at times on the field this season, one that began with a promising 3-0 start, the teams off the field issues have plagued the Dolphins, and have made them the highlight of media coverage nationwide.

You have heard the story by now. On Halloween reports first surfaced that second year tackle Jonathan Martin had left the Miami Dolphins to deal with “emotional issues” after a prank gone wrong in the teams lunchroom. That story ballooned into what is now known as “Bully-gate.”

Since Martin left the Dolphins, his teammate and fellow offensive line mate Richie Incognito has been suspended by the team, and has been targeted for his behavior that Martin’s camp has described as “harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing.”  Incognito admitted to as much as leaving a voice mail on Martin’s phone containing racial epithets and crossing the line.

In an interview with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer Incognito took responsibility for the voicemail saying “When I see that voicemail, when I see those words come up across the screen, I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed by my actions.” Incognito also addressed his use of racial epithets, “I'm not a racist. To judge me by that one word is wrong. In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word even if it’s friend to friend on a voicemail.’

In addition to the voicemail, 1,142 text messages exchanged between Martin and Incognito were turned over to Glazer.

Late last week, Dolphins players came to Incognito’s defense, speaking out against Martin.

“If I'm not mistaken, this is the same guy [Martin] who was laughing about this voice mail at one point and time, first of all," said receiver Brian Hartline, "Second of all, I believe that, if you go through the whole voice mail, there's some things said that you probably shouldn't say in general, friends or not friends. But I know for a fact that I've said things to my friends that I kind of wish I never said, either.”

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was skeptical too saying "I think if you would have asked Jon Martin who his best friend on the team was [before the scandal], he would've said Richie Incognito. The first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan."

Nonetheless this story has continued to grow and an outright attack on the Dolphins organization has continued.

A player, who spent the entire 2012 season with the Dolphins, today described the Dolphins locker room, as  “normal,” saying while much has been made regarding the culture in the locker room, the hazing of young players did not cross the line.

“Carrying helmets, bringing food, singing before team meetings” said the player, “They were actually great memories.”

When pressed on if he saw anything that might have indicated the locker room culture was getting to Jonathan Martin, the player said, “I didn’t see anything. He came to work everyday with the same personality.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin too has come under fire for his handling of the scandal, but the player came to his defense. “I loved Philbin, he cares about family and his players.”

While we have yet to learn all the facts (that will come when the NFL completes their investigation), we do know that for Richie Incognito to use racial epithets is wrong, but that does not make him a racist.

We know Jonathan Martin was playing poorly prior to being moved to right tackle when the Dolphins acquired Bryant Mckinnie. Could that have contributed to the stress that caused Martin to snap after the prank in the lunchroom? Possibly, but we don’t know. 

When Martin left the team he exchanged text messages with Incognito saying he did not blame Incognito and the accusations were not coming from him.

When Martin left the team it was reported that the Dolphins would place him on the non-football injury list, clearing his roster spot, but also meaning Martin would not be paid while he was away from the team.

Since those reports Martin has not been placed on the NFI and he continues to be paid. It’s worth noting Martin’s mother is a lawyer and has a long history of working on workplace harassment cases.

While all of Richie Incognito’s prior transgressions are being used against him (some rightfully so), and the alleged sexual harassment of a golf course worker that occurred over a year and a half ago is less than encouraging, Incognito is not the same man that was kicked out of Nebraska and released from the Rams.

In his time with the Dolphins he has been a Pro-Bowl player and yes even a leader in the Miami locker room. Those who have played with him call him a great teammate, those who have played against him call him dirty.

Richie Incognito may never play another down for the Miami Dolphins, but he will play in the NFL again. Jonathan Martin might not play another down in the NFL, because he dared to show his vulnerability.

This scandal has cast a black cloud over the Dolphins, and has threatened the careers of head coach Joe Philbin and General Manager Jeff Ireland (rightfully so).

Should the NFL find Richie Incognito responsible, the league must come down on him and show this type of behavior is unacceptable and has no place in the NFL.

Should these accusations be unfounded we should learn a big lesson about convicting someone before they are proven guilty. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dolphins Training Camp Day 3

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 1

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Falcons Take 1-0 Series Lead With Win in OT Thriller

SPRINGFIELD -- After waiting ten years for playoff hockey to return to Springfield, the Falcons did not disappoint. The Falcons took game one of the Calder Cup Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoffs 2-1 Saturday night in an overtime thriller.
Falcons players celebrate the win

Blake Parlett, who came to Springfield from the Rangers organization in the Marian Gaborik trade, got the scoring started in the second back handing a penalty shot in following a break way after serving a penalty for holding.

Springfield held the lead until midway though the third when Manchester’s Brian O’Neil tipped the puck underneath Curtis McElhinney to tie the game.

The Falcons would have their chances, moving the puck well and controlling the puck for the majority left in regulation, but at the end of three periods the teams remained tied.

In overtime the Falcons again showed great intensity, putting the pressure on Manchester. Then at 10:36 though the period Cody Bass, the former Calder Cup Champion with Binghamton scored to give Springfield it’s first playoff victory in ten years.

“Typical Cody Bass goal, going to the net and he got a stick on it” said coach Brad Larsen after game, “It’s great that he scored that goal, he’s had a tough year with some injuries, he’s emotionally vested in every games he plays, he doesn’t know any other way”

Bass, one of four players on the Falcons roster to have one a Calder Cup Championship, knows what it takes to win in the playoffs.

“We knew Manchester wasn’t going to be a light team to play, it’s playoff hockey and anything can happen…We have what it takes to do it, we have great leadership in the room”.

With the win the Falcons take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series, they take to the ice again Sunday afternoon hoping to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

Friday, April 26, 2013

AHL Playoffs: Springfield Falcons vs. Manchester Monarchs

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-Springfield Falcons vs. 7-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Manchester at Springfield, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 28 – Manchester at Springfield, 4:00
Game 3 – Thurs., May 2 – Springfield at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 4 – Sat., May 4 – Springfield at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 5 – Manchester at Springfield, 4:00

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Attack Coverage

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boston Bruins and New York Rangers Preview: 5 Expectations


Heading into Saturday’s much anticipated season opener at the TD Garden, there a few things I feel fans should take note of.

By Tyler W. Leahy

1. Expect an intense atmosphere

With two Original 6 teams matching up in the very hockey-hungry city of Boston, expect a very loud, energetic TD Garden. Just this past Tuesday, the loyal Boston fans filled the TD Garden to capacity with their full force of 17,565 to watch the Black & Gold game, a scrimmage between the Bruins and their AHL counterparts from Providence. Fans are eager for the first puck drop of this lockout-shortened season, and they’ll be in for a treat with two of the premiere Eastern Conference teams battling for sixty minutes of hard-nosed hockey.

2. Expect the Rangers to be aggressive early 

Newly-acquired Rangers forward Rick Nash
Newly-acquired Rangers forward Rick Nash

On paper, the New York Rangers have perhaps the most dynamic offense in the NHL. Scoring threats Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and newly-acquired Rick  Nash combined for 255 points in the 2011-12 season. If that isn’t difficult enough for opposing defenses to swallow, 22-year-old center Derek Stepan pitched in another 51 points. Expect the top two lines of this powerhouse offense to get a high volume of shifts early in the game. The high-flying Rangers will exhibit their speed early and often; Nash will be determined to make some noise in his Rangers debut.

3. Expect a balanced Bruins approach

For the Bruins to win this hockey game, they will need an attentiveness to detail. With the up-front star power of the Rangers, it will be important for the B’s to limit turnovers and mistakes. Loose pucks, board play, face-offs—they’ll all be pertinent to Boston’s success in this one. I anticipate the Bruins to play the scrappy brand of hockey that they play so well, and I expect them to make an early statement as the more physical team. I also expect head coach Claude Julien to utilize the team’s depth, employing short but energetic shifts from all lines, both offensively and defensively. In Tuesday’s Black & Gold scrimmage, the line of Chris Bourque, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley was most impressive. It will be exciting to see the chemistry of this likely third line in game action. Fans can also look forward to the debut of touted rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton and the long-awaited return of sharp-shooting forward Nathan Horton. Anticipation is also high for the play of forward Tyler Seguin following success in European play.

4. Expect a sloppy game

With such a hurried training camp, it would be wrong to expect a clean, polished debut to this shortened NHL season. Many players are exhibiting fitness that is suspect at best. The Bruins and Rangers have proven to be relatively healthy thus far, but the first regular season game will prove which legs are ready to go—and which aren’t. Whichever team can minimize the likes of bad line changes and odd-man rushes is likely to come out the victor. Also, tired legs cause sloppy penalties. Could we see some exhaustion in the second and third periods of this game?

5. Expect the most important player to be Tuuka Rask
Tuuka Rask takes over as starting goaltender this season in the wake of Tim Thomas’ absence. While Rask is a proven NHL goaltender and has the faith of his coaches, teammates and fans, there is still a looming question: is he ready to go? While he was faced with a few unfortunate bounces on Tuesday night, Rask still surrendered six goals to an AHL squad. He looked downright sloppy, and causes worries for some fans heading into Saturday night’s game. If he plays like his usual self, there could be a goaltending battle between himself and stonewall-esque Rangers net-minder Henrik Lundqvist. If Rask appears to be unprepared as he did earlier this week, expect the outcome of the game to ultimately rest on his shoulders.

Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask allows a goal to Max Suave in Tuesday's scrimmage
Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask allows a goal to Max Suave in Tuesday’s scrimmage

Prediction: In an intense but mistake-ridden game, the Bruins ride their home ice support to a 5-4 victory.