MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Miami Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner and longtime head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill have been fired for their roles in the team’s bullying scandal.
The firings Wednesday were the first punitive steps taken by the Dolphins since a report on the NFL’s investigation into the scandal was released last week.
Investigators found that guard Richie Incognito and two teammates engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at tackle Jonathan Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. Martin left the team at midseason, and Incognito was suspended.
In a news release, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said:
“The language and behavior as described in the Ted Wells report are against the core values of our organization. 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. As owner, I know firsthand of the high-character and dedicated professionals in our building. 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.”
Head Coach Joe Philbin’s statement on the firings reads:
“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. 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.”
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