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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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Posted by: Darryl Dunphy | March 06, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Darryl
If tannehill wins a Super Bowl and we have no back up QB that could replace him, and his contract is up right after winning the Super Bowl then we will have to shell out big bucks if we want to keep him

Do you really see that happening ??

Hickey likes his RB's?

Miller - Can't break a one finger tackle
Thomas - Still hasn't shown he is worth keeping
Gillislee - couldn't even get on the field.


Wowee. I'm sure Hickey just LOVES them ;)

Flacco is one of about 6-7 great QB's in the league. And QB is the highest paying position and most influential. He has already won more road playoff games than any QB in NFL history and a SB. A HOF QB barring injury. He deserves the big bucks.

im glad he got the $$$...now BR cant keep their players.

K-nick isn't worth $18 a year either.

All mock drafts have the Dolphins taking a RB in the draft
either second round or as low as 4th round
they all agree we need a RB
so conventional wisdom will seep into Dolphins draft board considerations and we will draft a RB
It is too obvious.
But don't let the pre draft statements get to you
they are meant to add value to our RB's so we can trade them
I see either Thomas or Gillislee traded or cut if they cannot trade them
even a 7th rounder is better than cutting them
so watch for posturing
reserve your concerns for after free agency and after the draft

Tannehill should get paid if he's close to top ten, if not, franchise him and draft someone first round just like San Diego did.

Now, some qbs are not top ten and are getting paid and their teams have little hope.

Jay Cutler
Joe Flacco

Soon to be Colin Kapernick and Russell Wilson - Although Wilson has a shot of being top 10.

The tough call to me among the next batch is Andy dalton. his numbers say definitely apy him - but team results? Could be the next purgatory qb like Tony Romo

Top 6 or 7? This year Flacoo wasn't even top 20.

...Carlos..No..I almost choked on my porridge!!!

That is my point...what is realistic as far as what this team may accomplish in the next 2 years. The playoffs? Perhaps even a win to advance? The division? (I doubt it barring a Brady injury)

It would be great if this team made it to and won a Super Bowl. Why not? but does it feel like this team is close to that? No freeking way. Maybe we are, and I am lost in the forest. But this is my point.

In 2 years if Tannehill takes this team to the playoffs
The fanbase will go nuclear I we do not extend him to a longer deal. This is a fan base that has experienced an Ethiopian like famine when it comes to winning that any little crumb will seem like the seed that will solve these hunger issues. There will be tremendous pressure to overpay. And I get it.

My question, and it isn't just for this team. Is it the right thing to do? It absolutely kills teams more then it helps them. I think it is time to re-think how you build your team. Unless you have a true stud at quarterback. Lots of ways to win. It is time for the smart people that get paid to do this to figure it out, and create new blueprints.

See Seattle, see San Francisco.

I know it is cliché because the Hawks just won the cup. But could they be on to something?

mark
u just luv
numbers huh?
how 'bout these
numbers mark
19-0
20-7
how 'bout those
^ babies
mark?
.
lol

DD,

If Tannehill leads the Fins to 1 playoff win in the next 2 years, he will be signed for about $15M a season.

mark
3.5 + 2 = 7
how 'bout
^those mark?
.
lol

Undoubtedly, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart and Shipley will be doing their fighting through a VERY OBLIGING MEDIA.....

No biggie.... Ross has his team of sharks, the NFL has THEIR team of sharks... now O'Neil has his... I think that O'Neil got a raw deal... But then again I think the entire Miami Football Organization got a raw deal...

The entire Witch Hunt known as "The Wells Investigation" will be studied over the next few years... And eventually, the entire thing will be exposed as a predetermined charade... designed to appease the public, shame the Dolphins and make dough boy "Baby Johnny" and his Harvard Law School Mommy & Daddy go away with something ELSE to coddle their little screwed up in the head punk boy with...

Ross has the money to either fight or pay. It really doesn't matter. However... If I were Ross... I'd counter sue O'Neil right away for breaching the confidentiality agreements they CERTAINLY had between them. Who cares whether he has or not. Counte5r sue is ALWAYS the best legal maneuver in a protracted fight.

2 watt, stop being gay for me, look at the Michael Sam poster that's right in your face - crotch first.

...Dashi. Exactly. 15 mil per year for 1 playoff win. I know this is how the system works. But is this not a fundamental flaw in the way teams build rosters? It is to me.

I get it that the salary cap is going to pour more money in the pot. So t will reward mediocrity even more. It give teams more reason to overpay.

15 million per year for 1 playoff win, even 2.

This is better then a left handed starter that goes 8-10 and throws less then 200 innings money.

Florida law is such that if you can fire whomever you want. You should never give a reason since they can argue that whatever reason you give is actionable, some kind of discrimation etc. Once you fire someone you say nothing disparaging about them. You just confirm that Joe Blow worked here from X to Y dates with this title and that is it. That way, no liability.

Attorneys can allege whatever they want. You can sue anyone for anything pretty much. But if the Dolphins followed the rule above they have no liability.

Turner's mistake was the failure to notice the phenomenon and raise it to the attention of his superior with some kind of documentation (like an email). Turner's refusal to discuss the health or psychological condition of people under him without having a release from them was probably wise. I do not know if a Trainer has any responsibility to confidentiality but in the US under the HIPPA laws everyone from the receptionist to the physician is pretty much constrained from releasing health information without a release.

Not the barry Zito contract?!?!?

If Tannehill had Flacco's numbers this year people would be going nuts on here. 19 TD 22 Ints. 3900 yards. Tannehill was the superior player this year.

As far as Tannehill's next contract lets see what he does next year then we can speculate.

Honestly there are only 4 elite QBs I would pay the 20 mil or whatever it is to. Rodgers, Manning, Brees, Brady. Brady might be replaced by Luck on that list in a year or 2.

Romo and Cutler have won 1 playoff game each and are paid 18 and 18.1 mil respectively. Matty Ice also won 1 playoff game and got 20.75 mil a year. Flacco 20.1 mil a year.

You can see how Matt Ryan and Flacco signing big extensions hurt their teams last year and they will continue to be in cap trouble in 2014 and beyond.


Top 6 or 7? This year Flacoo wasn't even top 20.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 06, 2014 at 12:31 PM

HOFer

..I am strongly on board with drafting a quarterback now. I made my points why yesterday(I think)..

We have to be prepared in the case that Tannehill is not the answer. this gives us 2 years to develop a guy(Garrapalo) We can still look to a premium round come the time we have to. But it would be smart to try and buy a cheap insurance policy should the team have an evaluation on a guy that warrants the pick.

Rememer..It isn't about who we think is the right pick. It is the evaluation of the team. Most of us won't be close to the reality of what the team drafts. We may get a guy right here, or there. This is a move for the future, a gamble I think we have to make.

I am talking 3rd 4th round. What could be more valuable then an insurance policy purchased in these rounds?

All mock drafts have the Dolphins taking a RB in the draft


Posted by: Alex in London | March 06, 2014 at 12:29 PM


And then again, no mock is ever more than 1% accurate.

Masai Ujiri, the GM of the Raptors, recently discussed his opinion of being 7-11 in the NBA. You don't want to be in those slots. You either want to be real bad to allow you to get players to improve or real good. I think it's the smartest thing I've ever heard from a gm in any sport.

The same philosophy should be applied with these QBs. If they aren't good enough to make you a contender on their own - then you have to have the courage to jettison them - even if it makes you step back for a year or two. The worst thing is to be what we have been for too long - 7 through 11. (closer to 11). Determine if the qb is really top 10, then pay him, but don't pay him because of team results where he was just a passenger or part of the equation.

..MIT..At least Zito was nails when it counted in 2012. Pathetic for the rest of the contract.

Did he have a no hitter?

Flacco in 2016 will have a cap hit of $31.2M with dead money of $25.9M attached. Yikes!

Darryl, I agree with you about the QB draft thing. If the right situation comes up grab one in rounds 3 through 7. Thats not saying I don't believe it Tannehill, but the position is so important it wouldn't hurt to have a developmental project or insurance type guy.

Flacco was lights out during the Ravens SB run and victory 2 seasons ago. That is why they rewarded him with that contract. Is he really worth it? No. But I am glad they did. As a Phins fan, anything that makes another team weaker I am all for it. As far as Romo goes, he does find some way to lose any really important game the Cowboys play. It cracks me up that Jones had to restructure a bunch of contracts just to get 1 million OVER the cap!!

..@ 12:52....I agree with you. The mocks are great for the fans. But how many times are people shocked when a team moves into the first round and grabs a guy all the mocks have second sometimes third round grades. Or how we celebrate when a guy that was graded in the mockoshpere falls into our teams lap later in the draft?

It is all about each individual teams evaluation, and their own draft strategy. Nobody had the Phins moving up to 3 to drat Dion Jordan.

The mock game is fun to play. I am guilty as any. But trusting the mock drafts as the gosphel?

Ross save the Dolphins. SELL THE TEAM!

no wavering....TH supporter but Fins should draft a good QB prospect in the 3rd or 4th rd....not a 7th rd hail mary/barely roster-filler--its the smart thing to do--frankly, they should draft one every year in the middle rounds, IMO

..Mass Dolphin..and that is the point..Flacco won a Super Bowl. At least I get the reward for that(Even though it has crushed them financially) Romo? both those guys have accomplished more then Tannehill, both are better quarterbacks then RT. And they have huge contracts. Tannehill just has to play at that level...And he is going to get a huge payday..Just think. RT has to be just as good as Tony Romo which we can all agree is good, but flawed..And he Tannehill is going to get a big payday. A pay day that will crush this team..

I would rather him fail then be just second tier..It would be better for this team in the longrun.

Now best case scenario..Tannehill crushes it the next 2 years. Plays to a different level. This is a possibility, and the best case scenario for the fans, and the team.


they should draft one every year in the middle rounds, IMO

Posted by: benz | March 06, 2014 at 01:08 PM

I think they should draft one every year in an early rd till they get it right.

7 consecutive losing seasons is the worst Dolphin team ever.

Simple math not a strong point around here. Boring. Focker - Out.

Ken Griffy Jr was high as SHYT

Mr Ross is a billionaire, with a B. I'm sure his legal team will be up to the challenge.

Guys who obsess about the NFL draft don't get laid.

Mr Ross..two words - David Boies

pretty sure they had a winning season in 2008 and this year wasn't a losing season either.

But hey, what's a littel math between friends...

Mark, rub some tanning lotion on my back and then go get me a daiquiri.

If AJ McCarron is there in the 4th I think the Phins should take him.
I am hoping Tanne gets a huge contract from the Phins down the road as that will mean he is a franchise QB.
But have to keep taking other QBs just in case. I have not given up on him, but Tanne's last 2 games this past season have me pretty worried.

WHY WAS INDY ABLE TO SIGN JACKSON?

Signings start Monday no?

Ya gotta wonder how long it will take the Dolphin coaches and GM to realize that Tanny stinks. 3-4 years in Henne's case.

just saying @ 2:07

QB's that go to shhtty teams have shhtty careers 2 examples: Henne & Tannehill

ETF, Jackson had been released, therefore was free to sign with anyone. Pending FA players not released yet are still under contract with their current teams until their contract officially expires March 11th.
Teams can start talking to potential FAs this Saturday however. That is how I understand it.


QB's that go to shhtty teams have shhtty careers 2 examples: Henne & Tannehill

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | March 06, 2014 at 02:09 PM

Not true.. Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Tom Brady all went to chit teams and have great careers.

Not to mention Dan Marino played on plenty of crappy teams and lifted them up on his shoulders. But QBs like him are very rare indeed.

Where's the official blog Moron been? I have a guess.

Home reading up on the cap & trying to figure out that guaranteed money doesn't equal a cap hit.

Before you call people out blabber mouth, have a friggin clue.

We need to sign courtland and knowshon Moreno immediately

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."

Tr'a quing li ma huong yao Tzu fang? Qing lo duong!

Joke franchise.

Don't mind ETF, he's always trying to excuse Henne and his lackluster results.

Philbin has had it with Tannehill especially after the late season bomb. He may start the opener but Moore should be starting by game 3-4.

MIT,

You asked me my thoughts on R.Hageman yesterday when the blog was cut off. I wouldn't have a Big problem with this pick! The team is apparently tipping it's FA/DRAFT hand a bit by not FRANCHISING either DT which I believed was the only we we kept Solia given I felt Starks has had an ax to grind with his H.C. going back to the Season opener last Yr. when he very obviouly flipped him off. Solia I felt made sense with the tag again because I thought we'd draft a player somewhere between 3rd and 5th Rd to groom more naturally suited to the scheme while letting the Natural 3/4 NT walk in 2015.

I'm now pretty convinced we break the bank on a LT and another OL in FA (A 10 Mil LT and another with a 6 Mil or so CAP#) while saving the 7.5 to 8 Mil per these 2 would have commanded while finally ascending Odrick to one spot adding an on the cheap FA and a Rookie who'll have to contribute immediately which tells me we draft a DT in the 1st three Rds. In this scenario we can add a Guard Rd-2 and maybe even a talent like NC Tackle James Hurst later who I believe a phenom S.Vollmer type athlete few are discussing.

The one thing about Hageman is his 6'6" frame which will have the smaller Centers and Guards inside looking to get under his pads. I haven't seen how low he plays but Tech. will be important to his NFL career. The Bigger Tackles (Over 6'5") tend to compensate by using there lower backs leaning into blocks in order to gain leverage burning them out relatively early in their careers. The player in Fins history Hageman reminds me of is Darryl Gardner nearly clones both 6'6"/320 Pds and Hageman ran a 5.36X while I remember Gradner posting a 5.5.

Darryl was stout at the line but had the issues with his back from opponents using his height against him. If you remember Tony McDaniel also had those issues in Jax 4/3 scheme under Del Rio when we got him in a trade for a 7th and had the problem progressively get worse and be an issue while with us. So I like the selection because this isn't a player that will get pushed around inside appart from having some solid DE's and DT around him which sets him nicely like adding Gardner to Bowens and Trace did in 96 but would like to see him play with a lower center of gravity.

Wells works for the NFL if a lawsuit is filed and proceeds forward do you think money bags Godell will help his franchise owner.

If O'Neil were to win or garner any financial compensation it will open up the Dolphin franchise for further legal action and could possibly target the MOTHER LODE ITSELF the NFL.

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


Hey tool in Toronto... enough with the racists jokes. Not funny.

Stellar and hard earned reputation? Good name? Before the Wells report, no one had even heard of him. And it's not like the Dolphins were notoriously stronger than other teams (often looked weak at end of games or season). This guy is delusional. Bog off already.

Who cares? Ross does care and the substance related in this article and the Well's Report will come into question. Florida is a 'right to work' state but the reason for the firing seems to be wrongful so Ross needs to do something to avoid a law suit. Those on this site such as the ethnic relating Mark in Toronto are clueless for thinking that O'Neill has no chance in court.

"Stellar and hard earned reputation? Good name? Before the Wells report, no one had even heard of him."

As a Dolphins fan, I'd heard of him. And his peers have obviously heard of him, judging by the award he received this year. And the fact that he held his position with the Dolphins for 18 years, through god knows how many coaching and administration changes, means he likely did have a stellar and hard-earned reputation and a good name, even if you never heard of him.

He was a sacrifice to the NFL and the media, nothing more. I hope he gets a good chunk of change from this.

DD,

Always good to see you on and rolling up your blog sleeves to chime in.

I am not sure that a QB is on the radar for the Fins this draft. Philbin has already announced the whole "shorter leash" thing because he believes in QB Moore. Moore is a handsomely paid back up which seems secure in his position.

Also, they just re-upped QB Devlin proclaiming allegience to his ability. Sort of a head scratcher to me?

I will be disappointed if the Fins just go with status quo at QB as well. The only way to find a Wilson or a Brady is to take your shots when your homework on a QB meets his value on your chart.

Moore has been a career back-up and seriously dropped the ball when Tannehill and he were dueling for the starting spot.

Devlin seems like he has been around for ever yet is a ghost. He has not done anything to my knowledge to garner the re-signing. He must pull off some awesome practices with all the coaches watching.

You used Garrapalo as an example and he sure seems like a groomable type. He would be a good target in my eyes as well. Potential abounds...depends on the round for each QB in this draft.

Cheers bro,

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