Dave Hyde Sun Sentinel Columnisthttp://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miam ... ?track=rss
6:00 p.m. EST, February 20, 2014
When Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry threw racial taunts at the team's assistant trainer last season, head trainer Kevin O'Neill did not stand idly by, as NFL investigator Ted Wells released in his report on the Miami Dolphins' locker room culture last Friday.
Nor, according to a source, did O'Neill, "allegedly [laugh] at some of the racial insults," as the report said, a claim even Wells seemed unsure of as the murky word, "allegedly" suggests.
O'Neill, the source says, did not hear any taunts. But when word of them reached him, O'Neill pulled Japanese-born assistant trainer, Naohisa Inoue, into his office, closed the door and talked directly to him.
"How do you want to handle this?" O'Neill asked Inoue. "Do you want to handle this yourself? Or do you want me to intervene?"
Inoue said he would take care of it. The next time Incognito started in on a racial taunt, Inoue told him to shut up using two expletives.
Incognito immediately apologized to Inoue, the source says. Incognito explained to the assistant trainer he didn't understand he had crossed the line between a locker-room joke and a racial taunt.
This wasn't in the Wells Report. ...
"There was a lot of pressure to fire Kevin," a second source said.
Pressure from the league?
"Yep," the source said.
That's because O'Neill didn't play ball with Wells. O'Neill seemed to have problems with the investigation that cut directly to his job. He doesn't simply treat players' injuries. He has a team of psychologists, psychiatrists and drug counselors to help players, including Martin.
O'Neill felt bound by the Federal Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) law that prevents the release of private medical information to independent parties, his former boss at the University of Miami, Dallas Cowboys and Dolphins, Jimmy Johnson tweeted.
O'Neill wasn't alone in struggling with the Wells investigation. Inoue, for instance, "implied that he could not be candid with us because he was concerned about losing the trust of the players, which he felt would compromise his ability to perform his job," the report said. ...
Before meeting with Wells, the source said, O'Neill had asked Aponte if he needed a lawyer. Aponte, a lawyer, said he didn't. When he was fired on Wednesday, O'Neill was silent. Aponte asked if he had any questions.
"Talk to my lawyer," he said.
This story isn't over. Nor, it seems, is the ugliness.