If Flores doesn’t coach the Dolphins in 2019 with such a great sense of competitive honor, if he doesn’t push the Dolphins to win five of their last nine games to finish 5-11, then Ross certainly seems guilty of offering bribe for his team. Thanks to Flores’ efforts, the league couldn’t or wouldn’t conclude that Ross’ organization was throwing outright games. Still, it turns out that Flores was telling the truth about his despicable ex-boss when he cashed in on the torrid charge that Ross offered him $100,000 per loss. “There are different reminders about the wording, timing and context,” the league said in a statement. But apparently Ross said it, or something close to it.
That Flores coached to win despite his owner’s pressure and duplicity somehow managed to make something competitive out of a roster with no talent – no player earned as much as one vote for the all-pro team — is all that allowed NFL investigator Mary Jo White to generously conclude that Ross didn’t submarine his own team.
NFL suspends, fines Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, strips team of two draft picks
Instead, the league just suspended Ross and fined him $1.5 million on Tuesday for tampering, for being a backstabber and a cheater who tried to wipe talent from other teams with a range of other unethical behaviors — violations of ” unprecedented scope and seriousness” for an owner, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement.
Do you remember what kind of work Flores was doing, even when Ross was conspiring? On the Sunday before Christmas, Flores spurred his team to a 38-35 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in extra time, a game that meant absolutely nothing, except Flores somehow made it mean something to his boys. A week later, Flores led the Dolphins to that unthinkable surprise of the New England Patriots, 27-24, to deny them a bye in the playoffs. Remember that? Remember who had the dolphins in what passed laughably for a backfield that day? Patrick Laird, the unwritten free agent whose nickname was “the intern” because that’s what everyone on the team thought he was, as opposed to a running back.
Remember when Ryan Fitzpatrick beat Tom Brady, even when Ross – through an intermediary – played foot massage with Brady in “numerous and detailed” secret communications in brutal league rule violations, trying to beat his Hamptons and Palm Beach neighbor Robert Kraft? fuck?
Imagine what it must have felt like for Flores to have Ross muttering in his ear the whole time, pressuring him to mess with Brady and insinuating how much it would please the owner if she somehow would lose enough games to improve their draft position.
According to the league, Ross repeatedly “expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take precedence over the team’s win-loss record.” Ross said it to Flores. He told Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel. He told General Manager Chris Grier and Senior Vice President Brandon Shore. And he said it “on a number of occasions.” He said it often enough, and in a way that so concerned Flores, that the coach felt compelled to document it in a written memo to senior executives, ultimately forcing Ross to turn it down, at least with him.
“I am grateful that the NFL’s investigator has determined that my factual allegations against Stephen Ross are true,” Flores said in a statement on Tuesday. “At the same time, I am disappointed to learn that the investigator has minimized Mr Ross’ offers and pressure to refuel, especially when I wrote and submitted a letter to Dolphins executives at the time expressing my grave concerns on the subject.” documented.”
The NFL’s Failure to Protect Women Saved Deshaun Watson From Liability
The league – with extraordinary charity – found that Ross did not explicitly “instruct” Flores to lose matches. It interpreted that dump-games-and-win-a-hundred-grand comment as a joke. “Frased however, such a comment was not intended or construed as a serious offer,” the league concluded.
Still, it’s clear how dangerous Ross’ verbal pressure was. The Sports Bribery Act makes it a crime to “influence a sports game in any way through bribery”. What if Ross’s comments were directed at a carriage with slightly less iron in it than Flores? What if Ross had really influenced him?
“An owner or senior executive must understand the weight his or her words carry, and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if it is not intended or expected,” Goodell said.
The only reason it didn’t look like a serious offer was because Flores didn’t respond to it and instead coached the team with virtuous insubordination. “Mr Ross’ comments did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to win and the Dolphins competed to win every game,” Goodell said in his statement. “Coach Flores deserves credit for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of the draft position to influence his commitment to win the entire season.”
Ross . statement responding to the punishment was in itself deceptive. In a stunning piece of ambiguity, he claimed that he was “acquitted” by the investigation and only accepted the punishment so that the dolphins could move on, although he strongly disagreed with the “conclusions and the punishment”. He went out of his way to call Flores’ allegations “malicious and defamatory.” Even now Ross doesn’t get it. He doesn’t realize that Flores was actually protecting him by competing with all his heart. Without Flores, Ross would have been completely exposed.