After a six-month investigation, the NFL came down hard on the Miami Dolphins. They found that there’s proof the team violated the league’s anti-tampering policy on more than one occasion. Now that’s really serious, and Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross has a response.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that the Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick after the league had evidence of owner Stephen Ross and vice president and limited partner Bruce Beal’s “impermissible communications” with Tom Brady and Don Yee, agent of Brady and former New Orleans head coach Sean Payton.
Ross has been fined $1.5 million and suspended through October 17th and will not be allowed to attend a league meeting prior to the annual meeting in March. He also cannot enter the team facility or represent the team in any event until his suspension is over. Beal has been fined $500,000 and cannot participate in a league meeting for the remainder of the 2022 season. The Dolphins have released a statement through social media regarding the serious matter.
“The independent investigation cleared our organization on any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores other allegations,” Ross said. “As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest. With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment. However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I will no allow anything to get in the way of that.”
The league also found that Beal spoke with Brady in 2019 while under contract with the New England Patriots, and Ross, and other team executives, were informed of the conversations. Beal and Ross were involved in discussions with Brady again in 2021, in which they discussed possibly becoming a limited partner and a team executive.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion was still a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the time of those talks. The Dolphins also spoke with Yee about making Payton their next head coach in January, without seeking approval from the Saints.
“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.”
The NFL found no evidence of former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ claim that Ross incentivized losing games, allegedly offering $100,000 for every loss during that season. Meanwhile, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy reports Brady will not be punished.
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