Miami Dolphins Controversy: After an investigation revealed that the Miami Dolphins club tried to entice quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton to Miami, the N.F.L. punished Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross and withheld two draft selections.
The team’s former coach, Brian Flores, claimed in a federal lawsuit filed in February, a month after the Dolphins fired him, that Ross had instructed him to deliberately lose games in order to improve the team’s standing in the college draft. However, the investigator, former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, found no evidence to support this claim.
One of Flores’ most contentious allegations in his case was Ross’ promise to pay him $100,000 for each game the Dolphins lost. White found that this promise “was not meant or considered to be a serious offer, nor was the issue pursued in any manner by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.”
But because of the tampering accusation, the Dolphins will lose both their 2023 first-round selection and their 2024 third-round pick. Ross’s suspension will last until October 17. He won’t be permitted to enter the team’s building and isn’t allowed to represent the club at any team- or league-related events. He will forfeit his membership on all league committees and must pay a $1.5 million punishment. The media, finance, and gaming committees all included Ross.
Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, said
Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, said in a statement that White had discovered tampering infractions “of unparalleled extent and severity.” “I am not aware of any previous incident where ownership was so intimately connected to the offenses,” he continued.
The conclusions followed a six-month study that started as soon as Flores brought his lawsuit. There were claims that the league and its clubs staged interviews with Flores and other coaches of color in order to circumvent the law mandating teams to evaluate a diverse pool of applicants for coveted job opportunities.
Flores highlighted texts from Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, in which Belichick appeared to congratulate Flores on landing the coaching position with the Giants, for which he had not yet conducted an interview. When Flores questioned if Belichick had meant the message for Brian Daboll, Belichick admitted that he did. Daboll, a white man, was hired by the Giants, which led Flores to believe that the team had already made up its mind before Flores had ever been interviewed.
Ross, who sacked Flores after three seasons as the Dolphins head coach in 2021, was also named in Flores’ lawsuit, which is currently continuing. Flores alleged Ross circumvented the league’s ban on communicating to other players and coaches under contract without the consent of their teams and attempted to buy him off in games.
The NFL Discovered
The NFL discovered that Brady and the Dolphins had improper conversations while he was playing for the Patriots in the 2019 regular season and postseason. It was claimed that these messages were “many and comprehensive.” Brady was playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, and it was discovered that the Dolphins had inappropriate communication with him and his agent during that time, including negotiations about Brady becoming a stakeholder in the team.
Additionally, it was discovered that the Dolphins inappropriately courted Payton in January when he was still the New Orleans Saints head coach. Ross issued a statement saying, “I strongly disagree with the results and the sentence with relation to tampering. “However, I will accept the result because the most crucial thing is that our squad not be distracted as we start a thrilling and successful season,” the player said.
The NFL has penalized several owners throughout the years, but bans are less frequent. Among them were Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, who was suspended for six games in 2014 after pleading guilty to driving under the influence, and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. of the San Francisco 49ers, who was suspended for the entire 1999 season after pleading guilty to a felony connected to riverboat casino licenses in Louisiana.
After looking into a sexual harassment culture at the Washington Football Team, the N.F.L. penalized the team $10 million last year. Daniel Snyder, the club’s owner, withdrew from day-to-day management until the middle of October.