Dennis Hickey fired long-time Dolphins scout Nate Sullivan on May 12th. Sullivan was originally hired by Jimmy Johnson back in 1997. Hickey told Sullivan that his working from home in Central Florida wasn't working for him. He didn't like Sullivan working from a remote location. The reason Sullivan has to work from home is because his wife has cystic fibrosis a potentially fatal lung disease. Sullivan has been working from home since 2004. The Dolphins have had three different general managers, Rick Spielman, Randy Muller, and Jeff Ireland, who Sullivan has worked for and none of them had an issue with Sullivan's situation.
Sullivan's lawyer is claiming in this potential lawsuit that Hickey's reason for firing his client violates Title 29 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And the loss of health care benefits has put his wife's health and life at risk. The lawsuit also lists the NFL as a defendant and claims the NFL has not taken the necessary disciplinary action against the Dolphins organization for Bullygate and Don Jones comments in the wake of Michael Sam being drafted. That the league has not taken the necessary steps to eliminate the discriminatory practices by the Miami Dolphins. It claims the NFL has failed to ensure a working environment which eliminates discrimination in Miami.
In my opinion there are two sides to this case, the legal side and the human side. Anyone with a pulse will side with Nate Sullivan on the human side. He has a sick wife and needs that health insurance very badly from a financial standpoint and from a saving his wife's life standpoint. You just hate to see anybody going through what he is going through lose their job. It puts a huge financial burden on his family and brings unnecessary stress to his sick wife and his family going through this tough time. On the legal side I am not sure he has much of a case. Yes, three former Dolphins GM's allowed this situation of working from home to take place; that doesn't mean Dennis Hickey has to allow it though. And while Dennis Hickey comes off looking like a fool here he has every right to fire a scout. Hickey has every right to not want one of his people working from a remote location. Hickey comes off looking like a monster and you have to wonder did he think through the consequences of what could happened when he fired Sullivan. And did he use the correct words when firing Sullivan. Did the reason he gave Sullivan open the organization up to a lawsuit? If so then Hickey just put himself on the hot-seat. In all honesty if Sullivan does go through with this lawsuit I am not sure Hickey can survive this. Ross might need to let Hickey go ASAP. It's a tricky situation to say the least but opening up the organization to a lawsuit and possibly breaking the Americans with Disabilities act is a fireable offense. So if this ends up in court I am not sure Dennis Hickey keeps his job much longer. Time will tell how this plays out.
Stephen Ross can make this go away overnight by finding a job...any job for Nate Sullivan. Find something for this guy to do and let him keep his health insurance and avoid a lawsuit which will bring a lot of bad press to the Dolphins.
But at the end of the day its just another story in the soap opera that is the Miami Dolphins. An organization that can't seem to get out of their own way.