The league concluded that the Dolphins did not attempt to intentionally lose games during the 2019 season in an effort to improve their standing in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it did find that Ross and the Dolphins committed tamper violations that include quarterback Tom Brady, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and former New Orleans Saints agent Sean. Payton.
The NFL suspended Ross until October 17, removed him from all league committees and fined him $1.5 million. The league said the Dolphins lost their first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft and their third-round pick in 2024.
“Investigators have found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “I do not know of any previous case of a team violating the ban on tampering with both the coach and the star player, at the potential expense of several other clubs, over several years. Likewise, I do not know of any previous case in which the monarchy was directly involved in the violations.”
Mary Jo White, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, I supervise the investigationWhich began after Flores filed his lawsuit on February 1, accusing Ross of making $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season in an effort to secure a top draft pick the following spring.
“The independent investigation has cleared our organization of any issues regarding tanks and all of Brian Flores.”[’s] “Other allegations,” Ross said. in the current situation Released Tuesday by Dolphins. “As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this case has now been ended. With regard to manipulation, I am strongly against conclusions and punishment. However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that there are no distractions for our team as we start an exciting and winning season. “.
The investigation found that Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season and that Ross’ $100,000 offer “was not intended or considered a serious offer, and the matter was not pursued in any way by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.”
“Every team is expected to make a sincere effort to win every game,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game and the public’s trust in professional football require nothing less. An owner or a senior executive must understand the weight that his words carry, and the risks in taking comment seriously and acting upon it, even if that is not the intent or anticipation.”
Dolphins finished with a record 5-11 in 2019 and used the No. 5 option in the 2020 draft on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Quarterback Joe Borough went first in that draft, to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect coach Flores’ commitment to winning and the Dolphins’ competing to win every game,” Goodell said. “Coach Flores deserves commendation for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of the recruiting position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the season.”
Dolphins shot Flores in January. He is now a senior defensive assistant and full-back coach With the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Flores said in a statement released Tuesday by his attorney that he was “grateful that the NFL investigator found my factual allegations against Stephen Ross to be true” but was “disappointed to learn that the investigator downplayed” those charges.
“While the investigator has found that the dolphins have engaged in impermissible manipulation” of unprecedented scope and severity, “Mr. Ross will avoid any meaningful consequences,” Flores said. “There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football itself than the integrity of the game. When the integrity of the game is called into question, the fans suffer, and the football suffers.”
An NFL investigation found that the Dolphins had unauthorized contacts with Brady in 2019 and 2020 while he was under contract with the New England Patriots. The team also made unauthorized contacts with Brady and his agent, whom the league did not identify by name, during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract with the Buccaneers.
According to the investigation, discussions with Brady and his agent focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner of Dolphins and possibly serving as CEO of football, although they also included on occasion the possibility of him playing with the Dolphins.
Flores’ lawsuit stated that Ross began pressuring Flores to “recruit a high-profile midfielder in violation of league manipulation rules” after the 2019 season. Flores refused, but was invited in winter 2020 to meet Ross on a yacht for lunch. He then told Ross Flores, according to Flores’ lawsuit, “that the outstanding quarterback was a ‘fitting’ arriving at the marina.” His lawsuit says Flores refused to participate in the meeting and left the yacht.
According to the NFL, Dolphins also had unauthorized communications in January 2022 with agent Don Yee about Payton becoming Miami coach, without permission from the Saints. Payton Abandon the saints after last season.
Yi, who also represents Brady, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The NFL also fined Bruce Bell, a limited partner and Dolphins Vice Chairman, $500,000 and barred him from attending league meetings during the 2022 season for his role in communications with Brady. Ross cannot attend any league meetings until next spring. He cannot be at the Dolphins facility while he is suspended.
“The sentence announced today is clearly insufficient and disheartening,” Flores’ attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elvitrakis, said in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, it is still clear that the NFL cannot restrain itself, which is why we look forward to continuing to drive the legal process and substantiating all of Bryan’s allegations… and forcing real change to the NFL.”
White is too Conduct an ongoing investigation into the NFL In recent allegations against the leaders of Washington and their companion Daniel Snyder.