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Texas A&M suspended a coach for derogatory sexual humor, and it wasn't his first offense

Offensive line coach Jim Turner played a role in the Miami Dolphins' hazing scandal.

Getty Images and Anwar Richardson
Getty Images and Anwar Richardson

Texas A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner was one of two assistants suspended for two weeks without pay on Friday night, after images of sexually suggestive slides from a presentation at a football clinic for women held on Wednesday went viral.

It turns out Turner is no stranger to using sexual humor and making some of those around him uncomfortable.

Turner was a central figure in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal of 2012 while working as the Dolphins' offensive line coach. An independent report found Turner was at least aware of ongoing teasing in the locker room about lineman Jonathan Martin's supposed sexuality, and in some cases complicit in it.

Turner was aware of the running "joke" that Player A was gay, and on at least one occasion, he participated in the taunting. Around Christmas 2012, Coach Turner gave the offensive linemen gift bags that included a variety of stocking stuffers. The gifts included inflatable female dolls for all of the offensive linemen except Player A, who received a male "blow-up" doll. [Jonathan] Martin and another player reported that they were surprised Coach Turner did this; Martin further said that he was offended that Turner had endorsed the humiliating treatment of Player A by participating in it. Incognito and others agreed that this incident with Coach Turner occurred. When interviewed, Turner was asked if he gave Player A a male blow-up doll. He replied, ‘I can’t remember.’

Turner was eventually fired in the wake of that investigation, which found a "pattern of harassment" in the organization. In 2015, he filed a defamation lawsuit against Ted Wells, the lawyer who led that investigation; he was still making presentations in court about that suit as of June.

And it seems Turner has made some of the same off-color "jokes" about the principles of line play at clinics similar to the one run by Texas A&M this week, with Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News reporting Turner had worked in the same vein during a previous stint at Texas A&M that ran from 2008 to 2011.

Debi Fincher, a Wheelock resident, said she attended the event in previous years and saw Turner's presentation during his first stint in College Station. The past president of the Brazos County Aggie Moms' Club said Turner's presentation was very similar to a prior one and drew laughs from older women and didn't cause a stir that evening.

"It's never been an issue," Fincher said. "I was surprised at the backlash."

The proportion of fans in attendance to the greater college football community genuinely dismayed by the presentation by Turner — and any attendant comments from similarly suspended tight ends coach Jeff Banks — will likely become a sticking point for many fans on social media as this story develops.

But A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin — and, by extension, new Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward — took great pains to say in their Friday statement that Turner's conduct was antithetical to what the school and its program want to be.

Sumlin hired Turner earlier this year, well after he was fired for similar issues in Miami. A&M was apparently okay with this specific sort of sexually suggestive humor from him at a women's clinic within the last decade. Perhaps it was really just public knowledge that A&M truly wanted to avoid.