NFL suspends Dolphins owner, strips team of 2023 first-rounder for Tom Brady, Messing Sean Payton

Six months after former Dolphins coach Brian Flores accused team owner Stephen Ross of… essentially bribing him to lose games for better draft position, the NFL has temporarily stripped Miami of both Ross and premium draft picks, NFL Media Reports. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the franchise on Tuesday that a league investigation revealed that Ross at least hinted at prioritizing draft picks over a winning record in 2019, and that he had unauthorized repeated communications with both Tom Brady and Sean Payton while tried the big names for his team. As a result, Ross has been fined $1.5 million and suspended until October 17, while the Dolphins must forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick for “violating the integrity of the game”.

The NFL investigation found that the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games in 2019, when the team finished 5-11, and failed to support Flores’ remarkable claim that Ross offered him $100,000 for each loss that season: “( There are various reminders as to the wording, timing and context (of the comment).However worded, such a comment was not intended or construed as a serious offer, nor was the subject in any way pursued by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.” It did, however, confirm that Ross repeatedly suggested to Flores, team president Tom Garfinkel and general manager Chris Grier that the draft positioning for 2020 should trump a better total of 2019 wins. Ross’ comments, Goodell wrote, “even if it were for the joke is made… bring an unnecessary potential risk.”

More than the allegations of fueling, the NFL in its Tuesday statement hammered out the dolphins’ contact with Brady and Payton, citing “manipulation of violations of unprecedented magnitude and gravity.” The investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, found that Ross and the Dolphins had “impermissible communication” with Brady on two separate occasions — first in 2019, as early as August of that season, while the quarterback was playing for the rival. patriots; and again during and after the 2021 season, before Brady retired and later returned to the Buccaneers. “Those discussions focused on Brady becoming a limited partner of the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football manager,” the investigation found, “although at times they also included the possibility that he might play for the Dolphins.”

The NFL investigation found that Ross and the Dolphins also illegally contacted Payton’s agent Don Yee in January, while the longtime Saints coach was still employed by New Orleans: “Miami did not ask New Orleans for permission to conduct these discussions, which took place earlier. Coach Payton announced his decision to retire as head coach of the Saints,” according to the NFL. “After that announcement, Miami requested permission to speak with Coach Payton for the first time, which New Orleans refused to grant.”

While serving his suspension, Ross will not be allowed to be at the Dolphins facility or represent the club at any team or NFL event. He is also prohibited from attending league meetings prior to the 2023 annual NFL owners meeting, or any communications from the league committee. The Dolphins’ vice-chairman Bruce Beal will also be banned from attending league meetings for the remainder of the 2022 season and has been fined $500,000.

Ross since released his own statement regarding the punishment, downplaying the tampering allegations and celebrating a victory over Flores’ fueling allegations: “The independent investigation has cleared our organization of all issues related to fueling and all other charges made by Brian Flores. Such as I have said all along these charges were false, malicious and defamatory, and this matter has now been put to rest. With regard to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the penalty. However, I will accept the outcome, for The most important thing is that there are no distractions for our team as we start an exciting and winning season. I will not let anything get in the way.”

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