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The more I see of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins on HBO, the more I'm left wondering, "why would any team voluntarily participate in that?" Athletes are humiliated, and coaches are exposed as clueless. Where's the up side?

The big moment in the second episode was the firing of Chad Johnson. Johnson was arrested last weekend on a charge of domestic battery against his wife of just over a month. The footage on last week's Hard Knocks hardly portrayed the pair as a loving couple. They barely looked at each other and came across as as two individual desperate for more time in front of the cameras. I guess this is another lesson in being careful what you wish for.

My problem with the situation wasn't that the Dolphins released Johnson, but how they did it. Johnson entered Head Coach Joe Philbin's office well aware of what he had done. Rather than let Johnson know that he was being cut, Philbin let the poor, desperate man dangle for a few minutes before weakly dismissing him with more of his milquetoast "I'm not trying to be a dictator" bullshit. I suspect that Philbin was trying to come across as sympathetic or considerate, but managed only to act uncomfortably embarrassed as he fidgeted in his overstuffed seat. Way to lead, Joe. I'm sure both men were glad there were cameras present to capture the moment for posterity.

In all fairness, I have to say that my growing distaste for Philbin has not been helped any by the series editors. In both of the episodes so far, the lead-in has edited a series of events to put Philbin's actions and comments out of context. Last week, we opened with Philbin failing to give a player a chance, unaware that uniquely incompetent General Manager Jeff Ireland had already rigged the game behind the scenes. This week, we heard Philbin's side of a telephone conversation that sounded like it was belittling his wife's relationship with Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid's wife, instead of commiserating about both Philbin and Reid having recently lost children. Maybe the man puts his foot in his mouth naturally, but NFL Films isn't doing him any favors.

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To be continued...


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