The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project running through mid-July detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.
In 144 pages, the Wells Report detailed a side of the NFL rarely seen by the public, and the glimpse inside the Miami Dolphins’ locker room was an ugly one.
The team’s bullying scandal during the 2013 season exposed racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior on the part of a handful of players, which bubbled to the surface when a target of harassment, second-year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, suddenly left the team. While the NFL’s product on the field has soared to new levels of popularity, the conduct of players, coaches and executives off the field has been of growing concern. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduced a stricter personal conduct policy in 2007, wanting to protect the league from infractions such as arrests for drunk driving, sexual abuse or domestic violence.
The Wells Report, which was the result of an NFL-commissioned investigation into what happened in Miami, spurred action in another area, that of workplace conduct. This offseason, league officials visited all 32 teams for hour-long sessions about changing locker-room culture. The league’s prominence means that everything in its borders is magnified, whether for good or for bad.
— Jenny Vrentas