NFL suspends and fines Dolphins owner, strips team of two draft picks


The NFL has suspended and fined Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and stripped the team of two draft picks for violating league policies governing integrity of play, the league announced Tuesday.

Ross was suspended until October 17 and removed from all NFL committees. He was fined $1.5 million, the league said. The Dolphins lose their first-round pick in next year’s draft and a third-round selection in 2024.

The penalties stem from the league’s investigation into allegations of tampering and tanking, which was directed by Mary Jo White, former US attorney and Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investigation began after former Miami coach Brian Flores accused the Dolphins in his trial for racial discrimination against the NFL and teams to offer him $100,000 to lose games during the 2019 season in an effort to improve draft positioning.

Mary Jo White to lead NFL investigation into Dolphins tanking allegations

The investigation found the Dolphins “had inadmissible communications” with quarterback Tom Brady in 2019 and 2020 while he was under contract with the New England Patriots. The team also had inadmissible communications with Brady and his agent, Don Yee, during and after the 2021 season, which the quarterback spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and with Yee in January 2022 regarding a coaching client, Sean Payton, said the NFL.

“Investigators have uncovered tampering violations of an unprecedented scale and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “I know of no previous example of a team breaching the ban on tampering with both a head coach and a star player, to the potential detriment of several other clubs, over a period of years. no previous instance in which the property has been so directly implicated in the violations.”

The investigation found the Dolphins “did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season,” the NFL said.

“Every club must make a good faith effort to win every game,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game and public confidence in professional football demand no less. An owner or senior manager must understand the weight of their words and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon. , even if this is not the intention or expectation.

“Even if made in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that draft position is more important than winning may be misunderstood and pose an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game. Mr. Ross’ comments did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to winning and the Dolphins competed to win every game.Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comments on the relative importance of draft position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the season.

The Dolphins released a written statement from Ross on Tuesday afternoon.

“The independent investigation has cleared our organization of all issues related to tanking and Brian Flores.[’s] other allegations,” Ross said in the statement. “As I have always said, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and that matter is now resolved. Regarding the tampering, I strongly disagree with the findings and the punishment. However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that there are no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I won’t let anything stand in the way.”

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