The league concluded that the Dolphins did not intentionally attempt to forfeit games during the 2019 season in an attempt to improve their position in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it found that Ross and the Dolphins, now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and quarterback Tom Brady, the agent of former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, committed violations.
The NFL suspended Ross until Oct. 17, removed him from all league committees and fined him $1.5 million. The Dolphins lose a first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft and a third-round pick in 2024, the league said.
“Investigators have found violations of an unprecedented scale and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “Over the years, I know of no instance before a team has breached the ban on damaging both a head coach and star player, to the detriment of multiple clubs. Likewise, I know of no instance before that has been so directly involved in rights violations.
Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Supervised the investigationIt started after Flores filed his lawsuit on February 1. In it, Ross accused him of paying $100,000 per loss for the 2019 season in an effort to secure a top draft pick next spring.
“The independent investigation cleared our company of all issues related to tanking and Brian Flores.[’s] other charges,” Ross said In a statement Released Tuesday by the Dolphins. “As I have always said, these allegations are false, malicious and defamatory, and the matter is now closed. Regarding the tampering, I strongly disagree with the decisions and the sentence. However, I will accept the decision because the most important thing is that we have our team as we begin an exciting and successful season. The team has no distractions.
He said the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games in the 2019 season, and that Rose’s $100,000 offer was “not considered or taken as a serious offer, and Mr. The investigation also found that neither Ross nor anyone else at the club followed up on the matter. .”
“Every club is expected to make a good faith effort to win every game,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game and public trust in professional football are not lacking. An owner or senior executive must understand the weight his words carry, and the risk of a comment being taken seriously and acted upon, even if it was not intended or expected.
The Dolphins finished 2019 with a 5-11 record and used the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft on quarterback Dua Tagovailoa. Quarterback Joe Burrow went first in that draft to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Mr. Ross’s comments did not affect Coach Flores’ determination to win, and the Dolphins competed to win every game,” Goodell said. “Coach Flores should be commended for not allowing any comments about the relative importance of draft position to affect his determination to win throughout the season.”
The Dolphins fired Flores in January. He is now the senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach With the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Flores said in a statement released by his attorneys Tuesday that he was “thankful that the NFL’s investigator found my factual allegations against Stephen Rose to be true” but was “disappointed to learn that the investigator downplayed those allegations.”
“Even if the investigator finds that the dolphins caused impermissible damage of an ‘unprecedented extent and severity,’ Mr. Ross will avoid any meaningful consequences,” Flores said. “There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football than the integrity of the game. When the integrity of the game is called into question, the fans suffer, and football suffers.
The NFL’s investigation found that the Dolphins had impermissible communications with Brady during 2019 and 2020 when he was under contract with the New England Patriots. The team had impermissible communications with Brady and his agent, who was not identified by league 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 in the Dolphins and serving as a football executive, although at some point included the possibility that he would play for the Dolphins.”
Flores’ lawsuit said Ross began pressuring Flores “to hire a key quarterback in violation of league tampering rules” following the 2019 season. Flores declined, but was invited to meet Ross on a yacht for lunch in the winter of 2020. According to Flores’ lawsuit, Ross told Flores that “the key quarterback was getting ‘comfortable’ with Marina.” Flores refused to participate in the meeting and left the boat, his lawsuit states.
According to the NFL, in January 2022, the Dolphins had impermissible communications with agent Dan Yee about Payton as Miami’s coach, without permission from the Saints. Baton He withdrew from the saints Following on from last season.
Yee, who represents Brady, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The NFL fined Bruce Beal, a limited shareholder and Dolphins vice president, $500,000 and banned him from attending league meetings through the 2022 season for his role in the communications with Brady. Rose will not be able to attend any league meetings until next spring. He cannot be on Dolphins campus during his suspension.
“The sentence announced today is clearly inadequate and distressing,” said Flores’ attorneys, Douglas H. Victor and John Eleftherakis said in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, it’s clear that the NFL cannot police itself, which is why we look forward to continuing the legal process to prove all of Brian’s claims … and force real change on the NFL.”
White too The NFL is conducting an ongoing investigation Recent allegations against the Washington Commanders and their owner Daniel Snyder.