Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commish Wisely Stays on Sidelines

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commish Wisely Stays on Sidelines

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is apparently out of the investigation business.

When Jonathan Martin left the Miami Dolphins in the wake of bullying allegations against Richie Incognito, it was obvious the league would have to become involved.

Goodell decided he wasn't going to be the point man and chose New York lawyer Ted Wells to conduct the investigation.

Goodell didn't want a repeat of the last two times he conducted a major investigation and created more controversy.

In Spygate, he burned the tapes and didn't suspend Patriots coach Bill Belichick even though the team's cheating may have helped win three Super Bowls.

And then with flimsy evidence in Bountygate, he suspended four New Orleans players and suspended coach Sean Payton for a year.

Reacting to all the complaints about needing an outside observer to weigh the evidence in Bountygate, he called in his former boss, Paul Tagliabue, to study the case. He probably assumed Tagliabue would back him up. Instead, Tagliabue overturned all the player suspensions and closed the case.

Meanwhile, Wells does not have an enviable job. Except for the abusive Incognito voice mail to Martin, it is uncertain there is much hard evidence to prove what actually happened.

Sorting it all out won't be easy, including deciding how long Incognito will be suspended and what the future holds for Martin, coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland.

It could be difficult for Martin to return to Miami since the players seemed to support Incognito and suggest Martin should have confronted Incognito.

Lost in all this is the Dolphins have eight more games to play, starting with the Monday night against Tampa Bay.

The Dolphins have not only lost two of their starting offensive linemen, they have to find a way to get their focus back on football. …

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