Jeff Ireland's fan confrontation unfortunate

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
5:57
PM ET
One of the hottest sports topics in Miami Tuesday isn't Reggie Bush's big performance or the Dolphins facing the rival New York Jets. It is a reported confrontation that took place at halftime Sunday between a fan and Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland.

As the story goes, Ireland was walking through the concourse at Sun Life Stadium meeting with his family and stopped to greet some fans. One Dolphins fan wasn't so nice and essentially told Ireland to fire himself.

Ireland reportedly said an expletive, and that's where the controversy arises. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is all over this story and got confirmation of the event from Ireland.

"It did happen at halftime and I was going back to my booth after seeing my wife and I did talk to several fans that were very nice. But as I'm walking back this guy introduces himself to me and says I should fire myself," Ireland told Salguero. "It caught me off guard. I just turned and walked away but I did say the word. I regret I used the word I used. I thought I was using it under my breath. I guess I kind of said it loud enough that he could hear it. I literally said it under my breath. At the time I felt I handled the situation pretty good. Probably muttered it a little too loud. I regret that I said anything."

My take is Ireland should know better.

Was the fan right for telling Ireland off at halftime of a Dolphins game? Absolutely not. But fans will be fans. Ireland is the general manager of an NFL team and part of his job is staying above the fray.

If Ireland expects his players to behave in a professional manner and represent the Dolphins organization well, the general manager should be setting the example from the top. It's an unfortunate circumstance that Ireland hopefully learns from.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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