Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Dolphins take good first step with firings
By James Walker
The fallout from the bullying scandal is officially underway in Miami. The Miami Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O'Neill on Wednesday evening after both were recently cited in the Ted Wells report.
O'Neill witnessed Dolphins players Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey harass an assistant trainer but failed to report it. Turner failed as an overseer of the offensive line and, at times, was a willing participant. According to the report, Turner bought former Dolphin Andrew McDonald a male blowup doll as a joke about his sexuality, even though McDonald wasn't gay.
The Dolphins absolutely made the correct call to fire O'Neill and Turner. This was a good first step for Miami, which must immediately change its sordid locker-room culture.
O'Neill failed to do the right thing by reporting the harassment of his understudy, which could have potentially stopped things before they became huge. Turner was negligent and irresponsible by letting three of his starting offensive linemen run wild. The Wells report explained Miami's offensive line as an "anything goes" group. That must be eradicated.
Turner and O'Neill deserved to be the fall guys due to their level of culpability. But as I wrote last week, Miami's bullying scandal overall was a systemic failure by the entire organization.
How did head coach Joe Philbin or former general manager Jeff Ireland not know anything that was going on in their locker room? Why didn't any players step up to put an end to this before it became a major problem and a national media firestorm? The Dolphins are not expected to fire anyone else in leadership positions. But those who remain in Miami certainly have nothing to be proud of following the Wells report.
Miami's bullying scandal will go down as one of the most embarrassing chapters in the franchise's history. By firing Turner and O'Neill the Dolphins proved they are making the necessary changes to begin the healing process.