Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Feb 2014

Wells Report Released

Well, so much for all that vindication Richie Incognito was claiming he'd have on Twitter a few days ago. Deadspin has a roundup of the worst of the worst from the 144-page report. John Jerry and Mike Pouncey apparently aren't angels either.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 14 Feb 2014

51 comments, Last at 23 Feb 2014, 3:41am by The Ninjalectual


by johonny :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 2:36pm

I am massively embarrassed to read so many Dolphins fan boards today. Clearly just more than NFL teams need better Harassment training. A lot of people still attacking Martin and Ross. Ross standing up to demand his NFL team follow the same basic harassment laws as all his other enterprises is the best news since he took over the team. Hopefully this is the start of a new mature Miami franchise and the end of the Jeff Ireland whole lot of bluster and very little results era.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 3:13pm

Once again, I am amazed that human beings, with I.Q.s purportedly greater than is typically displayed by a kicking tee, put communications in digital form, without a thought with regard to the fairly permanent nature of such data.

Of course, what remains even more amazing is that one Jeff Ireland, management guru with a multi-million dollar contract, upon getting a phone call from the representation of a player, complaining about alleged harassment by another player, informed the representation that his player should slug the other player in the nose. Ya' just can't make this stuff up, no matter how hard you try.

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:11pm

Reminds me of Stringer Bell running a meeting


by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:25pm

Stringer'd be a better GM than at least half the guys with that job in the NFL.

by buzzorhowl :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 3:23pm

Now I'm imagining Stringer Bell as general manager for Bill Belichick's Patriots. That's fun to think about.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:00pm

Oh, good grief, I just read this at PFT...

"According to the Wells Report, Incognito initially told investigators “that he did not know why he had been fined for ‘breaking Jmart,’ but upon being told that the notations appeared to be in his handwriting Incognito did not dispute that ‘breaking Jmart’ meant causing Martin to have an emotional reaction in response to taunting.”


"The report also alleges that Incognito sent text messages to Garner and center Mike Pouncey on November 3 asking them to “destroy” the notebook."

Incognito appears to be like a 300 pound, violent, George Costanza. "Oh, that stuff was written by ME!?? Was that wrong?!!". The irony in sending a text message requesting somebody else destroy evidence is just priceless.

by jds :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:04pm

Actually, the full report is linked from the ESPN story. I have no intention of reading it all, it is much too long, but it does have a very good table of contents. I read selected sections suggested by the table of contents.

What is clear from what I read is that Ingognito is now out of football forever. He doesn't have enough talent for any team to want to overcome this. It is also clear to me that the O Line coach, Turner, will be gone by the end of this weekend.

Overall, this is a great report for Goodell and the Dolphins. It says lots of people acted badly (including Ireland), but there is no front office blame for the Dolphins, and this was just a few rogue players, being led by Incognito. So Incognito takes the fall, move along people, nothing more to see, and protect the shield. Maybe that's the cynic in me, but the NFL is dodging any long term harm on this (unless Incognito doesn't want to let it go, and keeps it playing in the press for weeks).

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:17pm

I don't see how "the NFL" was ever going to take serious heat from this unless Jerry Jones and or Bob Kraft were calling Ireland and telling him to ask Martin to punch Incognito.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:22pm

Kraft? No way. Jerrel? Well, I wouldn't be too sure.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 6:30pm

One conclusion I've reached from the Wells report: Richie Incognito is really, really dumb.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:15pm

Incognito just tweeted:

"Pleeeeease Stop The Hate.
Happy Valentines Day :)"

Wait, what the hell? "Please stop the hate that resulted from my repeated expressions of hate," basically. Good luck with that one, Richie.

by Theo :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 8:41pm

The guys is inconsiderate, immature and the seriousness doesn't seem to get through to him.
Sounds like a child... who's dumb... and insecure... and has an alcohol problem.

by TomC :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 3:02pm

I agree that Incognito seems above all else to be incredibly, almost pathologically immature. The dime-store psychologist in me thinks that a lifetime of preferential treatment and locker-room culture has the potential to severely retard the maturation process, such that it's something of a surprise that any professional football players are mature adults.

by buzzorhowl :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 3:25pm

I've been thinking this for years. Incognito isn't even the 10th player I've seen who'd be prime evidence for this idea, let alone the first.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 9:12pm

The dime-store psychologist in me says that there are mature football players because taking care of yourself is a requisite to make it into the NFL.
And really, players are more than just players; they are just regular citizens too. They are children, friends, fathers, husbands too and have other hobbies as well.

But you're right; some don't ever have to grow up or learn anything besides football because they a filthy rich and are celebrities too. Their frame is totally wrecked and some will hardly ever, if ever, be corrected by someone else.

by tomdrees :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:03am

I don't think we can tisk-tisk the league for being in denial about concussions and then also pile on Ingocnito's dickishness as being the only thing in play here. Incognito is a man theoretically in control of his actions and attitudes, yes, but who knows what he's dealing with in terms of CTE and/or PED aftermath. I'm not saying Incognito is a victim, but he might be something more like a symptom of larger problems within the too fast too strong too rich too dangerous NFL. It seems like an organization custom-built to reward the Richie Incognitos of the world, and from a PR standpoint I'm sure the league is VERY happy to just point the finger at one (clearly idiotic) guy and continue to chuckle on the way to the bank.

To me the most damning thing about the Wells report is that Turner as a line coach apparently tried to create unit cohesion through an accountability-free culture, which seems really counterproductive towards the goal of improving as a football team. Like if you're of the opinion that your fellow lineman blew an assignment, wouldn't it be best to address the confusion directly than be labelled as a "snitch"? No wonder the Dolphins O-line has been such a mess. They've been encouraged by their position coach not to even know what their assignments are.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:19pm

Ugh. Just repellent on every level.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:27pm

I'm kind of surprised that Philbin kept his job, but I suppose the new GM might want a full year before cleaning the rest of the house.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:41pm

if they're looking for a strong enough cleanser to clean this house, I recommend fire and lots of it.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:46pm

I'll be shocked if Philbin has his job a month from now. Ross is going to have to go into "nuke it from orbit" mode at this point.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:47pm

It's the only way to be sure.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:59pm

Just for the jokes, they HAVE to bring in Schiano! C'mon Goodell, command it be done, for the best interests of the game!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:28pm

I would normally say no team deserves Greg Schiano, but, after reading this report, I kinda think the Dolphins do.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:34pm

Maybe Schiano could be court appointed to follow around Incognito and "coach" him in his daily life? I think the Dolphins can be redeemed, but Incognito should be punished.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:00pm

Assuming it's only in Miami stuff like this takes place seems naive.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:13pm

Agreed. I'm really glad for purposes of maintaining my ability to enjoy this game that the rest of the league's locker rooms weren't subjected to this same scrutiny.

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 9:36pm

On the other hand, assuming this goes on in every locker room is probably more wrong. Several teams (I know the Bears are one), have made team rules against hazing.

by Jerry :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 12:27am

While you're generally right, I think that what went on Miami was above and beyond what normally goes on in locker rooms. Most teams have veteran leaders who will stop things before they go too far.

ETA: Mark Schlereth describes his experiences:


by Alexander :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 6:41pm

Wait wait? Did people expect, under any circumstances, for the report to be different?

Its like the Mitchell Report. Not saying either is necessarily false, but the result was cooked from the beginning...

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:04pm

I think Incognito thought it was going to be different.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:43pm

Either that, or he was so dense he didn't think what was contained in the report would bother the public at large.

by Dr. Mooch :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:33pm

The details on the treatment of Nate Garner, his reaction to it, and his support of Martin are particularly damning, in that they drive home how organized and chronic this little hazing routine was.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 10:32pm

For all the talk about Martin, I think the other two unnamed individuals hazed in the report seemed to put up with even worse harassment. I have a hard time believing that the coaching staff was unaware of what was happening. I like Philbin, but think he may need to go.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 9:37pm

A head coach should be on top of everything that goes on in his football team.
This should have been spotted, identified and been taken care of.

by dbostedo :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 11:27am

In the deadspin synopsis, I'm actually most surprised that this wasn't limited to players... This passage seems particularly awful, given the status of trainers vs. players within the organization :

"Racial taunting of an Asian-American trainer:

Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey admitted that they directed racially derogatory words toward him, including "Jap" and "Chinaman." At times, according to Martin, they referred to the Assistant Trainer as a "dirty communist" or a "North Korean," made demands such as "give me some water you fucking chink,"... On December 7, 2012 (the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor), Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey donned traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem and jokingly threatened to harm the Assistant Trainer physically in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack..."

by Shattenjager :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 1:30pm

Just curious, why does that surprise you?

by Theo :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 9:16pm

Because the Eric Cartman character was supposed to be a caricature of several behavior impairments not often found in one person together.

by tuluse :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 9:29pm

It's got to be a little surprising that Incognito even knows when Pearl Harbor look place.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 2:09pm

I'm surprised he didn't target someone of German heritage for abuse on that day.

by Jerry :: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 9:41pm

"He's on a roll."

by dbostedo :: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 2:15pm

Because I figured the coaches, or at least some coach, knew what was going on and would allow players (theoretically big, tough, important men in the organization) to treat each other that way. I didn't think they'd get away with treating a trainer that way - I figured at that point someone with some power would have a problem with that, whether it was another player or a coach.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 2:47pm

This example and the Favre sexting scandal with the two therapists, I have a difficult time believing harassment of employees isn't more common than alleged. While players may normally do a good job policing themselves like Mark Schlereth claims, I'm not as confident minority team employees aren't given the same level of respect.

by johonny :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 1:08pm

I don't think people were expecting all the drug references and it linked people like John Jerry that were not talked about much until the report. The drugs, the Aaron Hernandez love, and now Harassing sure drops Pouncy's value in the NFL. He looks like a guy one step from suspension. You also had to think Jerry would be back just because they need even halfway decent guards. Now? It really throws a big ?? in who stays and who goes on that oline, coaching staff.

by Sixknots :: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 6:02pm

I'll bet that some Friday afternoon soon, Goodell hands out suspensions:
Incognito - 2 yrs (mute since he will never play another NFL down)
Pouncy - 1 yr.
Jerry - 6 mo.
Jim Turner - 1 yr.

previously BigWoody, but it doesn't work without the (not verified).

by Led :: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:01pm

This OT (and not even strictly football related), but FO readers who have not seen it may be interested: http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/02/09/the-hot-hand-might-real-afte...

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 4:38am

Interesting. You should submit it as an extra point where it belongs

by Sophandros :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:10am

There is more hard evidence released in this report than there was for SpyGate and BountyGate combined.

Somehow I doubt Philbin will get a year suspension, even though he knew or should have known this stuff was going on.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by morganja :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 7:51pm

All of this criticism going on about the locker room environment of the NFL is valid, but begs the question, what the hell is going on in college locker rooms? How is it possible that all these college programs that go on ad nauseum about building character are instead producing Incognito's?

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:26pm

Why stop at the college level? It's not that hard to figure out that these issues start way before that, and that it's not limited to gays. It's the hyper-macho attitude attached to football (and frankly, all athletics) cimbined with football's close connection with conservative Christian and military 'values'. It's very closely
related to similar problems in the military. Look at all the controversy regarding Don't Ask Don't Tell and the current discussions about rapes in the military.

by collapsing pocket :: Thu, 02/20/2014 - 12:42pm

John Wooden believed that sports don't build character, they reveal it.

Incognito's behavior got him multiple suspensions in college from his coaches and ultimately got him booted from two different college teams. Red flags were there all along.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 02/23/2014 - 3:41am

Stanford and Missouri are two NCAA programs whose locker rooms seem to destroy this stereotype. Maybe there's truth to what you say, but I don't think we have enough (any) information besides hearsay to even speculate.