NFL Suspends Miami Dolphins Strips Team And Owner Team Of Draft Picks After Tampering Probe

NFL Suspends Miami Dolphins Strips Team And Owner Team Of Draft Picks After Tampering Probe

Updated on August 03, 2022 18:07 PM by Evelyn Mia

The NFL stripes the Miami Dolphins of two picks and suspended and fined owner Stephen Ross after a probe into allegations of tampering and tanking found that his team had impermissible contact with star quarterback Tom Brady and the agent of former Saints coach Sean Payton.

Miami Dolphins Violation

The investigation, led by former US Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White and lawyers from the Debevoise law, determined that the Dolphins violated anti-tampering rules on three occasions, the NFL announced in a news release.

The investigation found that the team did not intentionally lose games, known as tanking, but noted that Ross repeatedly suggested that the team should prioritize its position over winning games during the 2019 season, the release said.

As punishment, the Dolphins will forfeit their first-round pick in the 2023 draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 draft. The release said Ross is suspended through October 17, six games into the 2022 season, and fined $1.5 million.

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The Conclusions And The Punishment

Regarding tampering, I'm afraid I have to disagree with Ross's conclusions and punishment in a statement on the Miami Dolphins Twitter account.

But he will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there are no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. He will not get anything to get in the way of that.

The investigation found that the Dolphins had impermissible communications with Brady in 2019; he was a member of the New England Patriots. After the 2021 season, he was under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Second Discussion On Brady

The investigation found that the discussions focused on Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive and included the possibility of playing for the Dolphins.

The league found Dolphins Vice Chairman Bruce Beal spearheaded the contact with Brady and fined him 500,000 dollars. The Dolphins had no comment when asked about Beal's actions.

The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was directly involved in the violations.

The investigation also examined whether the Dolphins intentionally lost games in the 2019 season to improve their draft position, known as tanking. The Dolphins ultimately finished the 2019 season with a 5-11 record and earned the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

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NFL Investigation

The NFL investigation found the team didn't lose games intentionally, nor did any member from the club, including Ross, instruct then Dolphins coach Brian Flores to lose games, according to the press release.

But, the investigation found that Ross repeatedly expressed his belief that the team's draft position should take priority over the win-loss record.

In February, Flores said that Ross unambiguous told him he would give him $100,000 for each game Flores would lose. Ross denied the allegation, calling the claims baseless, unfair, and disparaging.

According to the NFL news release, the investigation found that people had differing collections about the wording, context, and timing of the claimed offer.

But phrased, such a comment was not intended or taken to be an offer, nor was the subject pursued in any respect by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club, the release states.

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The Integrity Of The Game

Goodell said that the comment, even if made as a laugh, risked damaging the integrity of the game.

Every club is expected to make a good faith effort to win every game, he said in a statement. The integrity of the game, and public confidence in professional football, demand no less. An owner executive must understand the weight her words carry and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intent or expectation.

Even if created in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that comment position is more important than winning can be misunderstood and carry an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game.

He praised Flores, fired earlier this year, and has sued the Dolphins, the NFL, and other teams alleging racial injustice for continuing to try to win games. The teams have denied the allegations.

The processer made by Mr. Ross did not affect Coach Flores' commitment to winning, and the Dolphins competed to win every game, Goodell said. Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of the draft position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the season.

Flores expressed his disaster in what he says is the NFL investigation downplaying Ross's messages on tanking.

 At the same time, the Dolphins were disappointed to learn that the investigator to Mr. Ross's offers and pressure to tank games, especially when he wrote and submitted a letter at the time to Dolphins executive's files, my serious concerns regarding this subject at the time which the investigator has in her dominion.

His lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor, and John Elefterakis expressed disappointment in the investigation's agreement with Ross's comments.

Inappropriate Comments

We are presently disheartened that the investigator, and the Commissioner, excused inappropriate comments that go to the heart of the game integrity regarding tanking as being in jest, especially when there was a paper written by Coach Flores at the time demonstrating the gravity with which Coach Flores received these comments, they said in a statement.

The punishment announced today is inadequate and disheartening. Suddenly, it remains clear that the NFL cannot police itself, which is why we look forward to continuing to push the original procedure and prove all of Brian's processes, as well as those of a class of black executives, educators, and people, and force real change upon the NFL.

Meanwhile, Ross, in his agreement, said the investigation had cleared the Dolphins of tanking.

He said the independent investigation cleared our organization of any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores' other allegations. As I have said, these allegations were false, malicious, and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest.

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