Miami Dolphins coaches love Derrick Shelby. He’s a popular member of the locker room. And he’s an active and willing participant in the team’s charitable initiatives.
That’s why the news from this past weekend – Shelby’s alcohol-infused arrest outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub, his bloodied face in the booking mug shot, and his indefinite suspension from the team – was so jarring.
Shelby wasn’t at Dolphins camp Monday, leaving players and coaches to explain how a supposed model player has become another convenient talking point for those who argue that the league has lost its way.
Shelby, charged with resisting arrest without violence and trespassing, is the latest NFL player to generate the wrong kind of attention.
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“I saw the [headline] and I thought it was the Onion News reporting it, thinking it was fake,” said fellow defensive end Jared Odrick, Shelby’s friend and teammate. “He’s such a smart guy. He’s knowledgable and he loves his job and loves working hard every day and coming in and really setting a standard.”
Odrick continued: “He’s just so talented and such a great individual to have as part of the organization and the community. I was very surprised.”
The Dolphins on Monday placed Shelby on the Indefinite Club Suspension list for what they called conduct detrimental to the team.
Shelby was arrested early Saturday morning after an alleged disturbance at Cyn nightclub in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The team was on its bye, but coach Joe Philbin made disciplining Shelby one of his first orders of business upon returning to work Monday. Shelby will remain suspended, at the very least, until a clearer picture of what occurred over the weekend emerges.
“I think you heard me say often times that it’s important for everybody that represents the Miami Dolphins – players, staff members, to represent the organization the right way on and off the field,” Philbin said.
Philbin’s advice to his players: “Respect. Respect everybody, every road trip we take. We are ambassadors for the Miami Dolphins [and] the National Football League. Treat people the right way. It’s really as simple as that. We go on the road, we want the bus drivers to think, the stewardesses to think, the people at the field to think this is a class organization and guys do things the right way. Show respect to everybody. It’s a simple message.”
Unlike the infamous Ray Rice domestic violence situation, police do not possess video from the Shelby altercation.
There is however, a detailed police report.
It states that Fort Lauderdale cops took Shelby to the ground and tased him three times once the player assumed a fighting stance. That suggests that though Shelby was ultimately charged with resisting arrest without violence, it certainly was not without incident.
This new narrative helps explain why Shelby’s face appeared bloodied and swollen in his mug shot after his early morning arrest.
Cops say Shelby was causing a disturbance at Cyn, 111 SW Second Ave., about 2 a.m. Saturday, and touching women without their permission. The latter accusation was a factor in the team’s decision to suspend him.
When instructed to leave, police say, Shelby blocked the walkway and asked police, “What are you going to do?” He then began photographing and taping a police officer before other cops arrived to assist.
Still, the arrest report states, an apparently intoxicated Shelby refused to leave, and so cops informed him he was charged with trespassing.
“Upon attempting to place Shelby into custody, he began pushing away from officers and took an aggressive fighting stance,” according to the report.
TASED THREE TIMES
That’s when police took Shelby to the ground, where he resisted and attempted to brace his arms. Eventually, police tased him three times – stating the first two had little to no effect – before ultimately detaining him. Shelby was booked on the two charges and has since bonded out. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Shelby’s Davie-based agent, David Canter, said Monday he has spoken with Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey and is “disappointed” by the team’s decision to suspend the player.
“We look forward to Derrick resuming his football career,” Canter added.
Shelby, who was signed by the Dolphins in 2012 after being undrafted out of the University of Utah, has been an important part of the Dolphins’ defensive line rotation. He has two sacks this season after recording 2.5 sacks last season.
Odrick has reached out to Shelby since the arrest, and said his friend is remorseful.
“The thing that we’re reminded of as professional athletes, and black men, is that we’re targets more than anybody else,” Odrick said. “We have to uphold a standard, on and off the field, in and outside the building, more than anyone else in society. That’s something we’re going to have to accept.”