NFL suspends owner of Dolphins, strips 2023 first-round team for Tom Brady, Sean Payton tamper

NFL suspends owner of Dolphins, strips 2023 first-round team for Tom Brady, Sean Payton tamper

Six months after former Dolphins manager Brian Flores accused team owner Stephen Ross of essentially bribing him to lose games for a better draft position, the NFL temporarily stripped Miami of both Ross and premium draft picks, NFL media reports. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the franchise on Tuesday that a league investigation found that Ross had at least hinted at prioritizing draft picks over a record win in 2019 and that he inadmissibly repeated communications with both Tom Brady and with Sean Payton as he tried to recruit the big names for his team. As a result, Ross was fined $ 1.5 million and suspended until October 17, while the Dolphins must forgo their choice of the first round of 2023 and the third round of 2024 for “game integrity violation.”

The NFL investigation found that the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games in 2019, when the team finished 5-11, and could not support Flores’ remarkable claim that Ross would offer him $ 100,000 for every defeat in that season: “(There) there are several recollections of the wording, timing and context (of the remark). However formulated, such a comment was not intended or considered a serious offer, nor was the argument pursued in no way from Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club. “However, he confirmed that Ross has repeatedly suggested to Flores, team president Tom Garfinkel and general manager Chris Grier that the 2020 draft placement should exceed a 2019 win total. improve. Ross’s comments, wrote Goodell, “even if made in jest … carry with them unnecessary potential risk.”

More than the allegations of tanking, the NFL in its Tuesday ruling insisted the Dolphins’ contact with Brady and Payton, citing “tampering violations of unprecedented scale and gravity.” The investigation, led by former US Attorney Mary Jo White, found that Ross and the Dolphins had “inadmissible communications” with Brady on two separate occasions: the first in 2019, as early as August of that season, while the quarterback he played for rival patriots; and again during and after the 2021 season, before Brady retired and then returned to the Buccaneers. “Those discussions … focused on Brady becoming a limited partner of the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive,” the investigation found, “although they also sometimes included the possibility that he would play for the Dolphins.” .

The NFL investigation revealed that Ross and the Dolphins also illegally contacted Don Yee, Payton’s agent, in January while the Saints’ longtime manager was still employed by New Orleans: “Miami didn’t ask for consent. in New Orleans to have these discussions, which took place before Coach Payton announced his decision to retire as head coach of the Saints, “the NFL said. “After that announcement, Miami asked for permission to speak with manager Payton for the first time, which New Orleans refused to grant.”

While serving his ban, Ross cannot be present at the Dolphins facility or represent the club in any NFL team or event. He is also barred from attending any league meetings prior to the annual NFL owners meeting in 2023 or any league committee communication. Bruce Beal, vice president of the Dolphins, was also barred from participating in any league match for the remainder of the 2022 season and fined $ 500,000.

Flores said in a statement that he was disappointed that Ross “will avoid any significant consequences” with discipline on Tuesday.

“I am grateful that the NFL investigator believed my allegations against Stephen Ross to be true. At the same time, I am disappointed to learn that the investigator played down Mr. Ross’s offers and pressures to tank games, especially when I wrote and sent a letter at the time to the Dolphins executives documenting my serious concerns regarding this matter at the time the investigator is in his possession, “he said. “While the investigator found that the Dolphins had engaged in inadmissible tampering of” unprecedented scale and gravity, “Mr. Ross will avoid any significant consequences. There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football itself. integrity of the game When the integrity of the game is questioned, the fans suffer and football suffers. ”

Ross made his own statement Regarding punishment, downplaying allegations of tampering while celebrating a victory over Flores’ tank charges: “The independent investigation has cleared our organization on any tank-related matter and all other Brian Flores allegations. As I have always said, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue has now been hushed up. As for the tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment. However, I will accept the outcome because more important is that there are no distractions for our team at the start of an exciting and winning season. I will not allow anything to stand in the way. “

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