The first person to lose his job after the Ted Wells report was 18 year employee and head trainer Kevin O’Neill. Followed shortly thereafter by Oline coach Jim Turner. It was probably the right thing and the smart thing. Two problems however exist. One, the latest rumor is that O’Neill’s firing was a result of NFL pressure and two, O’Neill may be prepping for a wrongful termination suit.
If the rumors are of course correct.
Assuming they are and frankly there is little reason to believe they are not, O’Neill may be the first of two lawsuits filed against the team in connection with Jonathan Martin’ leaving.
According to reports from the Sun Sentinel, O’Neill was notified of his firing while in Indianapolis with HC Joe Philbin and new GM Dennis Hickey. He received the news however by Dawn Aponte who was in the room with Philbin and Hickey.
As the report goes from the Dave Hyde at the Sun-Sentinel, Aponte asked if O’Neill had any questions to which he replied, “Talk to my lawyer”. The implied act of that remark is that he feel as though his termination was wrong. O’Neill is contending that he spoke with the assistant trainer and then spoke with Incognito about incidents shortly after they happened and that Incog made an apology to the trainer. O’Neill also apparently doesn’t like the fact his name was brought up in the report saying he was uncooperative.
It’s also very likely that Jonathan Martin himself at some point will file a lawsuit of his own against the team.
This simply is a case that will not go away anytime soon. It also speaks if not in volumes but at least in chapters to the structure of the Dolphins management system. Aponte apparently has too much control or the others have little desire to be the guy who has to make the fire. Either way it doesn’t look good.
What does look good is that Hickey will have well over 30 million dollars to spend in next months free agency to convince free agents that Miami is a team they want to pay for.