The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neil following the release of the Ted Wells report, which investigated allegations of bullying on the team.
The details of Wells’s report were explosive, with revelations showing the offensive line coach kept up a disturbing rapport with his players. According to Wells’ report, Turner contributed to the Dolphins’ abusive atmosphere by sending one player a male blowup doll (after sending others a female blowup doll) and by pressuring Jonathan Martin to make a statement and to defend his teammate, Richie Incgonito. The report mostly painted Turner in a negative light, as someone more likely to add to Martin’s and others’ verbal abuse than to denounce it.
“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 Wednesday evening. “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,” Ross said. “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.”
Turner, a graduate of Braintree High and Boston College, previously coached at Northeastern (1994-1998), Harvard (2000-2002), and his alma mater. He was hired by the Dolphins in 2012 to join Joe Philbin’s staff, his first professional coaching gig, after spending the prior three years with Texas A&M.
Ross said he has reached out Martin and will meet with him soon. The owner added his team is working with the NYU School of Law and the NYU Center for Sports and Society in hopes to address the issues of this kind of misconduct on a broader level.
“My commitment to our fans, coaches, players and staff is that we will be a stronger organization going forward,” Ross said.