"There are not going to be comments during the course of [the NFL's] investigation," the second-year coach told the media.
Apparently, that was also the message for Dolphins players. Here's a tweet from TheMMQB.com's Robert Klemko:
The fascinating thing about the outpouring of support for Incognito is that players were told to defer questions to coach. Didn't happen.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) November 6, 2013
Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post tweeted a similar message but with this addendum:
Hartline says the Dolphins ordered the players not to comment Monday but that they all decided to let loose and "defend ourselves" today.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) November 6, 2013
Hartline says the Dolphins players feel like "you guys [in the media] are bullying us, actually."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) November 6, 2013
Defending themselves against perceived media bullying included wide receiver Brian Hartline telling reporters that Martin had showed his teammates the profanity-laced voicemail he received from Incognito and he was laughing about it. That was the same voicemail Martin made available to the organization and the NFL, and possibly the reason the Dolphins suspended Incognito Sunday night.
"I think if you would have asked Jon Martin [before he left Miami] who his best friend on the team was, he would've said Richie Incognito," Tannehill said. "The first guy to stand 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."
It's certainly reasonable that the Dolphins would want players to defer all questions to Philbin, even if he comes across as stilted and uncomfortable in front of the media. It's important to have one voice when controversies arise, but when players decide to be their own PR representatives, that singular message gets muddied.
Whether the team will take action against those players who spoke out is another matter, one that, frankly, could create more problems than it solves.