Case Cracked Open
After two months of dealing with multiple injuries, Hurricane Irma, and an AWOL linebacker, the Miami Dolphins reached new depths of distress as waves of scandal hit in the form of Chris Foerster. Many people were shocked by a compromising video of the (now resigned) offensive line coach snorting white powder with a rolled up $20 bill, while referring to a person he called “Babe.” Foerster then submitted his letter of resignation on the following Monday. Immediately after the footage surfaced, droves of news sources flocked to team members and coaches as the public sought to investigate and criticize the situation. Sites such as ESPN, the Sun Sentinel, and Sports Illustrated were very vocal about the crack incident, but have since quieted. Now that the Dolphins have turned their season around after the Foerster misconduct, it seems that a couple of wins have propelled the team back into the good graces of football spectators throughout America.
Recently, news sites have been mainly focusing on the Dolphins’ newfound luck as they defeated Atlanta Falcons 20 to 17, and the New York Jets 31 to 28. The bad press evaporated with the turn of events as quickly as outpourings of #PrayforFlorida and aid packages after Hurricane Irma. The public moved on quickly from this incident, but one can rightly ask whether Foerster’s actions are that of an isolated abuser or a widespread culture. Back in 2004, the Dolphins’ running back, Ricky Williams, went into retirement for reasons we now know involved substance abuse. However, what stirred up further controversy was the fact that their previous head coach, Nick Saban, allowed Williams to return in the 2005 season with nothing more than a “four-game suspension” (ESPN). Records revealed that Williams “tested positive for marijuana three times,” but the Dolphins were always quick to mitigate the issue by using league's confidential proclivities towards illegal drug consumption. Based on their track record, it is likely that the Miami team has been keeping Foerster’s crack addiction under wraps, and the cycle would have continued in silence if it were not for the leaked footage.
Foerster’s lover, Kijuana Nige, who exposed Foerster said her motive was ‘“to basically expose the inequalities in the system.”’ Her goal was to show the discrepancies between the way minorities and Caucasians are treated in the United States. There was also the bullying scandal involving former offensive lineman Richie Incognito’s threats to African-American teammate Jonathan Martin back in 2013. Besides the NFL, she points out minorities also “don’t get paid the same amount as everyone else” in general (Carroll, Sports Illustrated). But who is listening to her now?
Although Foerster has since been removed from the Dolphins’ branding, allowing the pro-football organization to cover up bad publicity with a couple good games does not expedite prevention of future illegal substance usage within the team. The habitual undermining of drug laws did not stop with Williams, and it will continue after Foerster if we do not stop and hold the Dolphins accountable. Nige further claimed that the video was taken “inside his Dolphins office...and that Foerster kept cocaine in his desk drawer at the Dolphins headquarters and used the drug wherever the team traveled” (Jackson, Miami Herald). It is strange that the entire coaching staff and team overlooked such a glaring detail even though coaches often spend more time with each other than even their families.
We cannot allow this new streak of victory nullify or diminish the relevance of the team’s previous cocaine crisis and the culture down in Miami nor neglect the influence it may have on younger fans. No amount of success can gloss over or rectify one’s mistakes. Only by acknowledging the problem can a person correct them, and Foerster’s substance abuse is clearly an issue rooted deeper than L’s and W’s. The Miami Dolphins have certainly been through an unfortunate amount of ordeals and it would be tempting to lay off the criticism, but we should not allow their triumphs to silence the public’s conscience. We learn by reviewing and correcting our actions, not by distancing ourselves from them and hoping that society will soon forget about them.
By Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel: (October 9, 2017)
By James Walker, ESPN: (October 9, 2017)
By Charlotte Carroll, Sports Illustrated: (October 11, 2017)
By Peter King, Sports Illustrated: (October 22, 2017)
By Steven Wine, Pittsburgh Post Gazette: (October 9, 2017)
Information given taken from the The Associated Press, ESPN: (February 20, 2006)