On Wednesday the Dolphins fired head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill. On Friday O’Neill’s fellow trainers honored him.
O’Neill, fired after he was accused of failing to act when Dolphins guard Richie Incognito hurled racial insults at one of the Dolphins’ assistant trainers, on Friday received the 2014 Fain-Cain Memorial Award for Outstanding Athletic Trainer of the Year by the NFL Physician’s Society. According to ESPN.com, O’Neill did not attend the ceremony at which he was honored, but when Dolphins assistant trainer Troy Maurer read a statement from O’Neill, the other trainers in attendance gave a standing ovation.
O’Neill spent 18 years with the Dolphins and was from all accounts well respected by coaches and other trainers, but the Dolphins decided to fire him after the Ted Wells report detailed the harassment of one of O’Neill’s assistants. The Wells report said that not only did O’Neill not stick up for his assistant, but he sometimes laughed along with the racist insults, and refused to cooperate with the subsequent investigation into bullying in the Dolphins’ locker room.
O’Neill reportedly disagrees with the report’s findings, and claims that he did come to the assistant trainer’s defense.