Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

NFL: Dolphins' Philbin vows to change team's culture

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is promising to change the culture inside Miami's locker room and make it a better workplace than the one that forced Jonathan Martin to leave the team last season.

Philbin said Thursday at the NFL combine in Indianapolist that he wants players to treat one another with civility, and he won't tolerate anything less.

In taking questions for the first time since Ted Wells released his report into the bullying scandal that rocked the league, Philbin made it clear things would be cleaned up.

"We are going to do things about it. We are going to make it better. We are going to look at every avenue. We are going to uncover every stone, and we are going to have a better workplace," Philbin said at the NFL scouting combine. "I'm going to make sure that happens."

The changes have already begun.

On Wednesday night, the Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and longtime head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill for their roles in the scandal. While the timing seemed odd, on the eve of a six-day event where Miami and the league's 31 other teams can interview and test draft hopefuls, Philbin said the Dolphins needed time to contemplate the report's findings and possible punitive actions.

The Wells investigation found that guard Richie Incognito and two teammates engaged in persistent harassment of Martin, another offensive lineman, and an assistant trainer. Martin left the team at midseason, and Incognito was suspended for the final eight games.

Martin has said that the persistently vulgar language made him feel trapped. Wells determined that Turner didn't try to stop the harassment and even took part in some of the taunting of offensive lineman Andrew McDonald. The report said O'Neill expressed hostility toward the investigation and cut short an interview with those conducting it, even though Philbin said he instructed everyone to tell the truth.

Philbin, who said he was unaware of the bullying when it happened, said he found the details of the language his players used and their actions to be "inappropriate and unacceptable" and immediately helped Martin find medical treatment.

Sharper enters plea

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper has pleaded not guilty to charges that he drugged and raped two women he met at a West Hollywood nightclub.

A judge increased his bail to $1 million and ordered him to remain in Los Angeles, stay away from nightclubs, and not be alone with any woman not known to him since October, when the first alleged incident took place.

The judge said she considers the case very serious and cited reports that more women may come forward. Prosecutors said Sharper is being investigated in three more states, and a recent allegation has surfaced in Miami.

Associated Press
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