Dolphins fire OL coach, head trainer amid report
Davie, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Ted Wells' independent report on the Miami Dolphins' workplace has claimed its first two victims.
The Dolphins announced Wednesday that offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill have been relieved of their duties effective immediately.
Turner served as Miami's offensive line coach for the past two seasons, while O'Neill was in his position for the past 18 years.
"The language and behavior as described in the Ted Wells report are against the core values of our organization," said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. "After receiving the report, I conducted my own internal review of the facts to determine the appropriate steps for our organization. Jim Turner and Kevin O'Neill are good people who care a great deal about their profession and the players whom they serve, but both exhibited poor judgment at times which led me to this conclusion."
The Wells report, released Friday to the National Football League, said that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.
The 144-page report said that the assistant trainer, who was born in Japan, was the target of frequent and persistent harassment, including insults relating to his race and national origin.
"With respect to the Assistant Trainer, Martin and other players claimed that O'Neill, the head trainer, not only overheard the racist insults, but also sometimes laughed along and never intervened," the report read. "We did not cover this specific topic in our interview with O'Neill, which was cut short because O'Neill expressed hostility toward our investigation."
Turner was aware of the running "joke" that offensive lineman Andrew McDonald was gay, and on at least one occasion, he participated in the taunting. Turner gave McDonald a male sex doll as a gag gift around Christmas 2012. Turner told investigators he didn't remember the incident, but investigators said they didn't believe him.
"As the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, it is my responsibility to create an atmosphere that allows each player the opportunity to reach his full potential," said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. "As Stephen Ross said, and I agree, the language and behavior outlined in Ted Wells' report was disappointing and unacceptable. Since I first arrived in Miami, it has been my goal to have a team which honors our proud tradition and represents our fan base the right way both on and off the field. It is not possible for a team to accomplish its goals when the fundamental values of respect are violated. That ultimately rests on my shoulders and I will be accountable moving forward for making sure that we emphasize a team-first culture of respect towards one another."
Martin left the Dolphins in late October before a Week 9 game against Cincinnati because of alleged bullying from Incognito, who was suspended in early November and didn't play the rest of the season.
"As owner, I know firsthand of the high-character and dedicated professionals in our building," Ross said. "I believe in our team and know the hard work and sacrifices they make every day on the field and in the community. However, this is an opportunity and a teaching moment not only for the coaches, staff and players in our locker room, but also for participants throughout sports. I am in contact with Jonathan Martin and we plan to meet soon. Next week, I will provide further details of our partnership with the NYU School of Law and the NYU Center for Sports and Society regarding a broader effort to address conduct in sports. My commitment to our fans, coaches, players and staff is that we will be a stronger organization going forward."
02/20 02:42:18 ET