- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kudos to the Miami Dolphins.
It took the Dolphins' organization just one day to make a swift and stern ruling on defensive back Don Jones. On Saturday the second-year player tweeted critical comments about Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. By Sunday, the Dolphins' brass met with Jones and wasted little time handing out his punishment.
Jones was fined an undisclosed amount, excused from the team and required to undergo educational training. Jones cannot return to the Dolphins until that training is complete, according to the team.
The Dolphins were wise to take a hard stance on this issue. For starters, the Dolphins' locker room has had enough issues in the past year with their bullying scandal and cannot add any form of intolerance to that list. Second, the team is letting its players know that further missteps on social media are unacceptable. The team also had a sit-down meeting with Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey after his recent comments on Twitter that first-round pick Ja'Wuan James would have to buy him gifts. The tweet was in poor taste after Pouncey was one of the culprits in Miami's bullying scandal.
Jones will have to pay the price for his mistakes. But, more importantly, he must learn from it. During a historic moment for the NFL and society in general, Jones was the only known player in the league to publicly bash Sam. Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was quick to point out Jones doesn't represent the views of the organization.
Jones did issue an apology to Sam on Sunday night.
"I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media," Jones said. "I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment. I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team and I wish him all the best in his NFL career."
Following a controversial 2013 season, Miami is the last team that needs negative press from its players. This is why the Dolphins set an example with Jones.
Miami is trying to change the culture in its locker room this year. Having a low tolerance for these kind of issues is the best approach.