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Former Dolphins trainer hires law firm, sets sights defense

Former Dolphins trainer Kevin O'Neill, who worked 18 years for the Dolphins but was fired in the wake of Wells report findings three weeks ago, has hired a law firm to represent him.

And the firm of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart and Shipley, P.A. promises to take "every appropriate legal measure to restore Kevin O’Neill’s good name."

I suppose that may include legal action, but the first measure the firm is taking is releasing a statement of facts as O'Neill sees it by firm partner Jack Scarola.

The statement:

"On Wednesday night, February 19th, the distinguished 25-year professional career of Miami Dolphins Head Trainer, Kevin O’Neill was abruptly ended. O’Neill’s firing was accompanied by no explanation, but its timing – only five days after the release of what has come to be publicly referred to as “The Wells Report” – has left an undeniable impression that Kevin O’Neill was being held responsible for the abusive mistreatment of Jonathan Martin at the hands of his Dolphin teammates.

"In fact, The Wells Report comes nowhere near supporting the decision of the Dolphins’ management to sack Mr. O’Neill. Instead it demonstrates that Kevin O’Neill was improperly singled out to placate an understandable public outcry for action in response to what was publicly portrayed as intolerable workplace bullying.

"The Wells Report invited “anyone with a stake in this matter…to disclose any additional information [they might have].” On behalf of Kevin O’Neill, whose stellar and hard-earned reputation is at stake in this matter, we accept that invitation.

"We begin by examining the totality of the “evidence” described in the 148- page report relied upon to justify Mr. O’Neill’s termination. In fact, Kevin O’Neill is referenced with respect to only two incidents:

"First, there is the uncorroborated assertion by Jonathan Martin that Mr. O’Neill heard unspecified vulgar comments about Martin’s sister “and even laughed at them from time to time;"

"Second, Mr. O’Neill “allegedly even laughed at some of the racial insults” directed at his assistant trainer, who is of Asian descent.

"We do not ignore the fact that vulgar verbal attacks on one’s sister can be “fighting words,” but the fire-able offense with which Kevin O’Neill was charged had nothing to do with his speaking those words. There is no assertion that he ever spoke such words. The crime he is said to have committed was “laughing.” If laughing at vulgar, tasteless humor is to be elevated to cause for terminating without warning an employee with decades of flawless service, then our entire country will face a monumental labor shortage.

"As to each of the two circumstances when Mr. O’Neill is alleged to have inappropriately laughed, The Wells Report contains important additional details. The report makes it clear that Kevin O’Neill had no knowledge of the extent to which Martin was harassed when it specifically finds that most of the offensive conduct “occurred away from the workplace” under circumstances where Mr. O’Neill was obviously not present.

"Of even greater significance is the fact that, if Kevin O’Neill laughed at the ribald locker room humor at Jonathan Martin’s expense, he was not alone. Martin himself admitted that his own response to the harsh teasing to which he was subjected was “to laugh it off.” Martin never reported or complained about the harassment to anyone, including Kevin O’Neill. In fact, when Martin was not laughing, his response was to ignore the teasing without ever challenging the offending teammates.

"If Mr. O’Neill laughed, and if Mr. O’Neill at other times ignored the vulgar “humor” to which Mr. Martin was subjected, then Kevin O’Neill was doing exactly what Jonathan Martin was doing and exactly what, by all appearances, Jonathan Martin wanted done. However, as The Wells Report also confirms, Kevin O’Neill did not simply laugh off or ignore the way Martin was treated.

"In fact, the first thing Mr. O’Neill did, according to Martin himself, was to pull Martin aside to counsel him on how to put an end to unwanted verbal abuse. As soon as Kevin O’Neill was informed of the seriousness of Martin’s emotional response to the treatment to which he was being subjected, Mr. O’Neill took immediate and appropriate action by referring Jonathan Martin for professional help.

"The Wells Report findings provide even less support for the firing of Mr. O’Neill based on any conduct involving his assistant trainer. Mr. O’Neill is alleged to have “laughed along” with racial insults directed at the trainer, but the report acknowledges that investigators “did not cover this specific topic in [their] interview with O’Neill.” They did, however, cover the topic with the assistant trainer.

"And what did he say? “He expressly denied having been the victim of racial harassment…When pressed, the assistant trainer denied that he was bothered by this treatment."

To the extent that there is any suggestion that Kevin O’Neill was obliged to do more to help “victims” who never complained and never asked for help, the question must be asked as to why Mr. O'Neill had any greater responsibility than every other member of team management who knew as much or more than what Kevin O'Neill knew about what went on in the team locker room.

"Mr. O’Neill was selected by team trainers and medical staff members throughout the NFL to be honored as the league’s Trainer of the Year. There is no greater recognition of achievement and respect within Kevin O’Neill’s profession. So why was he targeted for termination when there was no evidence of any significant wrongdoing on his part?

"The Wells Report itself clearly suggests an answer to that question. Mr. O’Neill did not give the report investigators the “voluntary” cooperation they and the League wanted.  “Voluntary” cooperation that would involve responding to questions regarding the psychological well-being of players under his care was not an option for Mr. O’Neill unless and until proper waivers were obtained from all the individuals whose privacy rights were at stake.

"Since the publication of The Wells Report, Mr. O’Neill’s character and integrity have been called into question in a very public way, and he has lost his employment.

"The law firm of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. is honored to have been chosen by Mr. O’Neill to represent his interests in these matters. We are prepared to take every appropriate legal measure to restore Kevin O’Neill’s good name."

Comments

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Signing Flacco to that contract was crazy but what could they do, besides taking a gamble letting him walk. Dude just came of a SB win, the ultimate bargaining chip. Their biggest mistake was not extending him the year prior.
Posted by: deity | March 06, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Oh yeah, ywan. Who cares?

..Who Cares anymore? Seriously. Go away.

Take Ross for all his money O'Neill!!!!

ro$$
bend over
let oneill grab u
by u'r ear$
.
lol

I know the report doesn't say who he is suing, But shouldn't he be suing the NFL, not the Dolphins. The NFL told the Dolphins to release him. And his main problem is with the Wells Report, which was conducted by the NFL.

I don't really care at this point. I'm just looking forward to free agency, the draft, and the 2014 season.

Deity, I agree about Flacco. I guess the crazier thing was trading Boldin for a 6th rounder. I didn't get that at all.

ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST ROSS? HOORAY!!

I believe Mando said that Kevin O neill wasn't co-operative in the least through the Wells investigation. That would prove grounds for termination - you know insubordination. Not surprisingly it isn't mentioned in that long worded crafest mando dump on us 4 days before free agency begins.

He just wants a settlement for the year off he is about to get, and to keep this out of the news he will maybe get one. But this law firm comes off to me as kind of amateur.

Lol...Trainer Kevin O'Neill secured a law firm.....that'll translate into more money that the incompetent owner, Ross will have to part with....

Not one Jew in that partnership name.

How good could they be?

The Ravens should've Franchised Flacco.

Yes, they would've paid him $16M for 1 Season. But it would've beaten paying him $20M a year for 6 Seasons.

By franchising him, they could've traded Flacco for a couple first round picks or resigned him this season to a lot less.

FINALLY: A POSITIVE STORY ABOUT HENNE

http://members.jacksonville.com/sports/football/jaguars/2014-03-04/story/unsigned-chad-henne-can-still-be-key-player-jaguars

nemo he wanted his
brother 2 win an sb 2
that's why he shipped him
the mixing linx 4 sf

Jews HAHAH always an easy target.

The Same thing I said about Jake last year.

We would've Franchised Jake last year. If the Rams wanted they could've traded an extra 1st, if not we let him play and see if he gets hurt again. Plus, it would've cost less to resign him this year or go after a LT if it didn't work out.

It just makes to much sense.

Even if Jake only played 12 Games the offense wouldn't give up 50+ Sacks.

The NFL should cease the team from Ross. He's non competitive and has made the Dolphins as well as the NFL a laugingstock of scandals. Remember the HC debacle? The workplace he's provided is totally dysfunctional.

yes ^

Message to Special teams coach Rizzo:

Stop trying to re-invent the wheel...

We cut loose Carpenter for Sturgis because Carp couldn't consistently create touchbacks..

....so stop already with the strategy of kicking just beyond the goal line attempting to entice the returner out so he can be tackled short of the 20.....

...guess what...the experiment failed....why? cause your gunners can't tackle...

..so until you get a couple who can on a regular basis, take the touchback and trust the defense!!!

I am convinced Jake was the ring leader of the "harrassment" going on with the OL. The difference between Jake and Cogs being Jake isn't totally off his rocker. Jake left and Cogs filled his shoes. He just replaced them with clown shoes.

You guys who are bashing Ross (and by no means am I necessarily defending him) are missing the point here -- this is America , not France . . . you can be fired from most jobs without an explanation , just as you can be hired for them.
I also agree with the guy above who said that if anyone should be getting sued here , it should be Roger Goodell's touchy-feely NFL.

THE ONLY WAY TO RESTORE RESPECTABILITY TO PHINS

Trade up to draft Michael Sam

The Martin lawsuit will be bigger than the O'Neil lawsuit. Ross has to be chiiten lol

"this is America , not France"

Sorry but I despise these types of comments. What does that even mean? If it wasn't for The French we would all be British. And we all know, the British have bad teeth.

Trade up to draft Michael Sam

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | March 06, 2014 at 11:47 AM


Trade up to draft Johnny Manziel.

cogs & martin is one thing, but cogs and asst trainer is another...that's ridiculous. how does o'neil not help that out? whats that guy supposed to do?

financially cogs-oneil-asst trainer is probably 30-4-1

simplistically, if turner goes for martin, oneil goes for asst trainer.

why am I rehashing this?

jakes a meathead too.

also, how do other trainers vote for "trainer of the year"...how do they know these things?

Won't have to trade up for Michael Sam. he will eb sitting there in the 5th round available to all. He's so average athletically that I'm starting to think he made up being gay to make sure he gets drafted and gets paid a couple of mill to sit on a roster and play special teams for a couple of years.

Brent Grimes credited coach Coyle as a reason he stayed here. He should be given serious consideration for HC when Philbin is fired.

Ryan tannehill is number 3 in jersey sales in afc how about that

Trade up to draft Liberace oh yea forgot he's dead


Ryan tannehill is number 3 in jersey sales in afc how about that

Posted by: Marc from nj | March 06, 2014 at 11:55 AM

You have Henne's jersey too. We know. LMAO

That's great Marc...now if he could only be the #3 QB in the AFC, we'd have something to shout about....

wow delusional dol"fans"...

Philbin aint going anywhere (certainly not before coyle)
Tannehill aint going anywhere

O'Neil was a prick to Wells during his investigation and it came back to bite him.
Moral of the story...don't be a prick during an official investigation.

That's great Marc...now if he could only be the #3 QB in the AFC, we'd have something to shout about....

Posted by: Buster | March 06, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Heck, if he was #3 in the AFC East they'd throw a parade.

...What were the Ravens supposed to do? Flacco doubled down, and then won the cup. They had to pay him.

Imagine how much the Dolphins may have to overpay for Tannehill when his rookie contract is up? He may never even get the team past the first round of playoffs and we will have to make a huge financial commitment.

Perhaps there will be a shift in the thinking in the NFL. These quarterback contracts are killing teams. Maybe, just because of the difficulties of the free agency era. Maybe we will see a shift in how teams are built. Perhaps just because of economics, we will see a shift in how teams are built, and the game played.

Yes, the rules are tailor made for a passing frenzy. And Yes if you have elite quarterback play you have a better shot. But perhaps it is a better long term plan to invest in a stout defense, as stout run game. Positions that do not levy the tax that the primadonna position of quarterback do...

Is it necessary to pay quarterbacks this huge percentage of your salary cap? Will the addition of more cap money turn my point on its head. Or does it support it even more?

This team will have a tough choice in a few years. People laugh at Flaccos contract. What happens with Tanehill?

#3 in
the afc east
.
lol

I could care less at this point....MOVE ON!!!

murray
tex a + m
threw a parade
when tpuke left
.
lol

I don't know how good my comprehension skills are? But it sounds to me like "Hickey likes his RBs"
Posted by: Dashi | March 06, 2014 at 09:04 AM


Dashi do you believe everything every GM says to the public? Or only when it is convenient for you?

DD,
easy, tanne gets low-ball negotiation close to end of rookie contract after getting oppressed. then they explode after signing him to final long term deal.

TannePuke ranked 37th in yards per pass attempt. Who wants that garbage?

DD, If Tanny doesn't learn to hit the long pass, he will never get a bombshell contract !!!!

jpao
the more
pixxed ro$$ gets
the quicker he $ell$
$ooooooooo
grill his axx
.
lol

If Tannehill gets us deep into the playoffs this season he should get paid...but not elite money(obviously).

Is anyone surprised that Incognito is nuts?

Jackson choses Indy over Miami. Not 100% sure if he would have made the team much better?

I'd be open to Spikes coming though. I think a true thumper inside to help against the run would be ideal. I'd like to see players with his attitude and aptitude for big hits on this defense.

The planets aligned and the virgins came down during Flaccos contract year. Happens like that 1 in 1,000. But SB winning QBs get bank, and so what if they do.

JPAO,
ditto. we need a new "dirtiest player" on the fins now. good role model for J Jenkins too.

This law firm wants to restore O'Neil's good name??? Sounds like they plan to sue for wrongful termination and demand big $$$ and a public apology from Ross.

That's exactly it, NH, that's the reason he was fired. It was because he wasn't co-operative. Stupid move on his part. it's a fireable offense - INSUBORDINATION.

I am not an attorney but I do own a large company and over the last 20 years have had to fire lots of people for different reasons
This is Florida - The law in Fl is simple - you fire someone and you do not tell him why Period
You do not have to have a reason
If you don't like him you fire him
Usually we give them 5 to 10 minutes to get their personal stuff out of their desk and we escort him/her to the door
If you do not tell them why you are firing them they cannot sue you
could be to fat - or too ugly or whatever but if you say too fat then they can come back and claim discrimination
so usually we just say sorry we cannot disclose the reasons
This is a right to work state
that means it protects the business
This way you can get rid of lazy underperforming employees even if they have lots of seniority.
So it depends in court what was said to him
If the management said you are fired period then he has no recourse
If they said we are firing you because of this or that then then he can sue because of discrimination if there are real grounds
But the defense will win 98% of the time saying the reasons are multiple and we just were not happy with performance overall. We wanted an upgrade period.

so Ross don't settle you will win this one. I am sure you have great attorneys already. (great=expensive)

Incognito beat up his own car because it was black lol

re: o'neil, doesn't appear hes suing for "wrongful termination" but rather "slander/liable" or whatever...

so he can likely get another job in the future...

with perhaps a little spending cash in the meantime.

....There is no middle ground for the second teir and the elite. Look at the contract Romo has. Now I think if Tannehill can get close to Romo as far as production we are lucky. But Romo is far from elite. He gets paid a kings ransom..Jay Cutler? These guys on their second contracts are severally overpaid. At least guys like Manning-Flacco led their teams to Super Bowl wins. That is about all you can ask for.

Quarterbacks on their second contracts get paid. Some get overpaid. I am saying that maybe for the good of the game. The attitude, the strategy, or belief that the quarterback is so paramount to winning that w will overpay at all cost..

Just think...Mark Sanchez got to 2 AFC championship games. By this method of thinking, and applying this to Tannehill as the criteria as to how much we should pay him. Is this the right thing, or way of going about building a team? If he turns into the reason why(like Flacco did) then you are probably forced to overpay.

Tannehill has 2 more years to prove his value. It could go great for him(I still think it is not great for the team, as I do not see him ever becoming upper echelon-Elite)..He just has to play better then average, and he will most likely be rewarded with a contract above our means.

could have canned the coach, kept a good trainer and got a top end GM.

go phins.

Ross (jew) > O'Neill (Irish and his non jew lawyers) in court. O'Neill doesn't have a chance.

Ross better have some good lawyers and extra money . He may get cheaper than ever. I'm just glad we didnt give this bozo the charity money he asked for! He has buried the franchise 10 feet under.

"great equals expensive but expensive doesn't always equal great"

- Joe Flacco

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