NFL suspends Miami Dolphins owner, strips team of draft picks in probe sabotage and tanks

As a penalty, the Dolphins will forfeit their first round pick in the 2023 Draft and their third round pick in the 2024 Draft. Ross was suspended until Oct. 17, six games into the 2022 season and fined $1.5 million, the statement said. .

“In terms of tampering, I strongly disagree with the findings and punishment,” Ross said in a statement on the Miami Dolphins’ Twitter account. “However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that there is no distraction for our team as we start an exciting and winning season. I will not let anything stand in my way.”

The association found that Dolphins vice president Bruce Bell led the conversation with Brady and fined him $500,000. The Dolphins had no comment when asked about Bell’s actions.

Additionally, in January 2022, the Dolphins made “unauthorized contacts” with Payton’s agent, who was the coach of the New Orleans Saints at the time and has since retired.

“Investigators have found fraud violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “I do not know of a previous case of a team that has violated the ban on manipulating both the head coach and the star player over several years at the expense of several other clubs. Likewise, I am not aware of any previous case where the monarchy was directly involved in the violations.”

The investigation also looked into whether the Dolphins intentionally lost games in the 2019 season to improve the draft position, known as tanking. The Dolphins eventually finished the 2019 season with a 5–11 record, earning a fifth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

An NFL investigation found the team did not lose any games on purpose and did not order any members of the club, including Ross, then Dolphins coach Brian Flores, to lose games, the statement said. However, the investigation revealed that Ross repeatedly expressed his belief that the team’s draft position should take precedence over win-loss record.

in February, Flores told CNN that Ross openly told him he would pay him $100,000 for every game Flores lost. Ross denied the claims at the time, calling the claims “baseless, unfair and demeaning”.

The survey found that people had “different memories of the wording, timing and context” of the alleged show, according to the NFL’s press release.

“Regardless of the wording, such a comment was not intended or regarded as a serious offer and the matter was in no way pursued by Mr Ross or anyone else at the club,” the statement said.

Goodell said in a statement that the suspension, even if it was a joke, could harm the integrity of the game.

“Every team is expected to make a genuine effort to win every game,” he said in a statement. “The integrity of the game and the public’s trust in professional football demand nothing less. The owner or CEO must understand the weight of their words and the risk that comments will be taken seriously and acted upon even if they are not intended. or expectation. Even when presented in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments that a draft position is more important than winning can be misconstrued and pose potential unnecessary risks to the integrity of the game.”

praised Flores, who had launched earlier this year suing the Dolphins, the NFL and other teams that claim racial discrimination, for continuing to try to win games. The NFL and its teams have denied the allegations.

“Mr. Ross’s comments did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to victory and the Dolphins’ race to win every game,” Goodell said. “Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comments about the relative importance of the recruiting position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the season.”

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In a statement, Flores expressed disappointment at what he believed was an NFL investigation that downplayed Ross’ comments about tanks.

“I am grateful that the NFL investigator has determined that my factual allegations against Stephen Ross are true,” Flores said. “At the same time, I am disappointed to learn that the investigator accepts the bids and pressure from Mr. Ross to downplay tank games, particularly as I wrote and submitted a letter to Dolphin management at the time documenting my serious concerns about the subject while the investigator was in possession of it.”

His attorneys, Douglas H. Wigdor and John Eleftrakis, expressed similar disappointment with the investigation’s assessment of Ross’ comments.

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“We are certainly disappointed that the inquisitor, apparently the commissioner, has apologized for the inappropriate comments that affect the integrity of the game, regarding tanks as a joke, especially when a letter was written at the time by coach Flores to deny it. show charisma .which coach Flores had received with.” .

“The verdict announced today is clearly inadequate and disappointing. Unfortunately, it remains clear that the NFL cannot control itself, so we look forward to continuing to take legal action that supports all of Brian’s claims and the dismissal case. ” of black managers, coaches and candidates, and to force real change on the NFL.”

Meanwhile, Ross said in his statement that the investigation had removed the dolphins from the tanks.

“The independent investigation cleared our organization of the tank issues and all other allegations made by Brian Flores,” he said. “As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this matter is now closed.”

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