Fins fire coach, trainer amid report
The Miami Dolphins have fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and long-time head athletics trainer Kevin O'Neill, a fallout from the Ted Wells report concerning workplace harassment, the team announced Wednesday.
The moves were the first punitive steps taken by the team since a report on the NFL's investigation of the case was released last week.
The Dolphins informed O'Neill of his dismissal after he had arrived at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine on Wednesday, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, while Turner did not accompany the team to the combine.
Turner recently finished his second year with the Dolphins while O'Neill had been with the organization for 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 in a statement. "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 by the NFL investigator stated that Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was subjected to "a pattern of harassment" that included racial slurs and vicious sexual taunts about his mother and sister by three teammates. Martin left the team at midseason.
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.” -- Dolphins owner Steven Ross
The 144-page report said Richie Incognito, who was suspended by the team in November, and fellow offensive linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey harassed Martin, while another offensive lineman Andrew McDonald, and an assistant trainer also routinely came under attack, the investigation found.
The report states one of O'Neill's assistants, who was born in Japan, was the target of racial slurs from Incognito, Pouncey and Jerry. O'Neill failed to do anything and "allegedly even laughed at some of the racial insults," according to the report. The report also stated that O'Neill expressed hostility toward the investigation and cut short an interview with those conducting it.
Turner didn't attempt to stop the harassment and even took part in some of the taunting, the report said. Several people interviewed told investigators 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.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and the front office were not aware of the players' mistreatment of Martin, Player A or the assistant trainer, the report determined.
"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," Philbin said in the release. "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."
Ross said he has been in contact with Martin and will meet soon with the two-year veteran. Martin has two seasons remaining on his contract with the Dolphins, but last month Ross said he didn't believe the tackle would play again for Miami. Incognito becomes a free agent this winter and will try to sign with another team.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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