NFL strips Miami Dolphins of 2023 first-round pick, fines Stephen Ross $1.5 million for messing with Tom Brady and Sean Payton

MIAMI – The NFL notified the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday that the team will be stripped of its 2023 first-round selection, among other disciplinary measures, for violations of the league’s integrity policies.

After a six-month investigation, the league found that Dolphins — principally team owner Stephen Ross and vice president/limited partner Bruce Beal — had violated the anti-tampering policy on three occasions from 2019 to 2022 in talks with quarterback Tom Brady and then-agent New Orleans Saints coach Shaun Payton.

However, the NFL found no evidence that the team intentionally lost games during the 2019 season. In February, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, in his lawsuit alleging racism in the league’s hiring practices, said Ross tried Incentivizing him to “tank,” or intentionally lose matches, shortly after his appointment in 2019, Ross allegedly offered Flores $100,000 for every loss this season. Flores claimed that with the team winning matches late in the season, Dolphins general manager Chris Greer told him that Ross was “crazy” because success on the pitch was a “compromise”. [the team’s] position draft.

In addition to the first-round pick, Dolphins will also lose out on the 2024 third-round pick.

Ross, from now on, has been fined $1.5 million and suspended until October. 17, during which time he is not permitted to be at the Dolphins facility or represent the team at any team event. Nor can he attend any regular meeting before the annual meeting in 2023.

Bale was fined $500,000 and not allowed to attend any league meetings for the remainder of the 2022 season.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told ESPN’s Gina Lane that Brady will bear no penalty for messing with the dolphins.

Bell led unauthorized contacts with Brady, then the New England Patriots quarterback, while still under contract; Ross and other Dolphins executives have been informed of the content of those conversations.

Both Ross and Bale messed with Brady again after the 2021 season, when he was under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But this time around, the conversation centered on Brady joining the team as a limited partner and possibly a CEO of football — though his potential to play for the team has been discussed, according to a league investigation.

Finally, in January 2022, the NFL found that the Dolphins had “unauthorized contacts” with agent Don Yee – who represents both Brady and Peyton – about Payton’s work as head coach for Miami. The association found that the dolphins “did not seek consent” from the saints to begin these conversations and that they occurred before Payton’s retirement later that month.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described the league’s results as “unprecedented.”

“Investigators have found fraudulent abuses of unprecedented scope and severity,” Goodell said in a statement. “I do not know of any previous case of a team violating the ban on tampering with both the head coach and star player, at the potential expense of several other clubs, over several years. Likewise, I do not know of any previous case where the monarchy was directly involved in the violations.”

Flores said in a statement that he was disappointed that Ross “will avoid any meaningful consequences” due to his discipline on Tuesday.

“I am grateful that the NFL investigator found my factual allegations against Stephen Ross to be true. At the same time, I am disappointed to learn that the investigator downplayed Mr. Ross’ bids and pressure on tank games especially when I wrote and submitted a letter at the time for Dolphin executives to document my serious concerns on this subject while it was in the possession of the Inquisitor.” “While the investigator has found that Dolphins has engaged in impermissible manipulation of ‘unprecedented scope and severity’, Mr. Ross will avoid any meaningful consequences. There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football itself than the integrity of the game when the integrity of the game is called into question. The game, the fans suffer, and the football suffers.”

Although it found no evidence that Dolphins attempted the tank in 2019, the investigation found that Ross made comments to Team President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, Grier, Senior Vice President Brandon Shore and Flores that the team’s draft position should take Priority over winning games. When Flores expressed his concerns in writing, it was assured that everyone wanted him to build a “winning culture in Miami,” and Ross never made those comments again to Flores.

“The independent investigation has exonerated our organization on any tank issues and all of Brian Flores’ other allegations. As I’ve said all along, these allegations were false, malicious, and defamatory, and this case is now terminated,” Ross said. in the current situation. “In terms of manipulation, I strongly disagree with conclusions and punishment. However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that there should be no distractions for our team as we start an exciting and winning season. I will not let anything get in the way of that.”

The investigation also found that Ross’ bid of $100,000 per loss, for which there were “various recollections of wording, timing and context… was not intended or considered a serious offer, and the matter was not pursued in any respect to Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.”

“Each team is expected to make a good faith effort to win every match,” Goodell said in a statement. “The integrity of the game, and the public’s trust in professional football, requires nothing less. The owner or CEO must understand the weight of his words, and the risk that comment is taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intent or expectation. Even if this was done in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments that a draft position is more important than a win could be misunderstood and carry with it potentially unnecessary risks to the integrity of the game. on Coach Flores’ commitment to winning and the Dolphins competing to win every game. Coach Flores should be recommended not to allow any comment about the relative importance of the draft position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the match. Seasons.”

The Dolphins were one of five teams to have multiple selections in the first round in the 2023 Draft before Tuesday’s discipline. Miami got an additional first-round option from the San Francisco 49ers in the trade that allowed the Niners to pick Trey Lance third overall last year.

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