The Ted Wells report on the bullying in the Dolphins’ locker room said that the team’s head trainer, Kevin O’Neill, “expressed hostility toward our investigation.” That hostility may be why O’Neill was fired this week.
Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel, in a column that relies on anonymous sources who clearly want to get O’Neill’s side of the story to the public, reports that pressure from the league office led to the Dolphins firing O’Neill.
“There was a lot of pressure to fire Kevin,” a source said, adding that the pressure came from the league and was the result of O’Neill refusing to play ball with the investigators.
The Sun-Sentinel also reports that O’Neill denies the most serious allegation made against him in the Wells report, that he laughed along with the racial insults that Richie Incognito hurled at one of O’Neill’s assistant trainers. In fact, according to an anonymous source who talked to Hyde, O’Neill immediately went to that assistant trainer and asked him how he wanted to handle it. That trainer said he would handle the issue directly with Incognito, and that after the trainer confronted Incognito, Incognito apologized.
O’Neill may now be planning to sue the Dolphins for wrongful termination. According to the Sun-Sentinel, when Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte informed O’Neill that he was fired and asked him if he had any questions, O’Neill’s response was, “Talk to my lawyer.”
Those aren’t the words of a man who’s planning to accept his firing. O’Neill may not have told his side of the story to Wells, but he could be fixing to tell his side of the story in a lawsuit.