When the Ted Wells report was released in February, detailing the alleged abuse going on within the confines of the Miami Dolphins locker room, the incriminating manifesto seemed like the type of document that would totally change the way coaches and executives around the league viewed locker room culture. And maybe it will be.
Problem is, that kind of sea change is going to be difficult to accomplish, given that many of the people in power around the league apparently never got around to actually reading it.
During the NFL owners’ meetings this week in Florida, Yahoo Sports asked eight coaches and executives from teams around the NFL if they had gotten a chance to peruse the 142-page ruling. The response was overwhelmingly negative:
“I didn’t,” Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
“No,” said Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone.
“No,” said Raiders coach Dennis Allen.
“There are other things higher on my priority list,” new Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said.
“No,” said San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy.
Of the eight coaches asked, only one said he read it: Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.
“I was appalled,” he said. “It was embarrassing.”
Further, when Yahoo Sports asked the coaches if they expected the findings of the report — which, recall, virtually none of them had read — to impact the way they do business in their own locker rooms, each of them said they expected to maintain the status quo.
“I don’t,” said Tomlin.
“If I see something I don’t like, I’ll act,” said McCoy.
“I understand the importance,” [Tennessee Titans head coach Ken] Whisenhunt said.
“I think we got a pretty good locker room,” said Allen.
And Lewis, who did read the Wells Report, said, “I think we’re in really good shape.”
If nothing else, the findings seem to have gotten through to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, who, one assumes, has at least read the CliffsNotes. He did, after all, tell reporters in Orlando, Fla., that he planned to spend more time in the locker room and training room observing player relationships in the wake of the report.
And maybe some of the other coaches who weren’t asked have read the report and are implementing changes to prevent a similar problem from impacting their own teams down the line.
But if radical change was the goal, and these coaches’ respective dismissals of the Wells report’s findings are any indication, we’re not anywhere close to seeing it, and it seems like we’re still a long way from the sort of leaguewide culture metamorphosis that many were hoping to see.
Now, for some links:
• The Indiana wide receiver who nearly drowned is expected to return to the team this fall.