Dolphins lose draft pick, owner suspended for fraud

The NFL suspended Miami Dolphins owner Steven M. Ross and forfeited two draft picks after an investigator found the team violated the league’s anti-tampering policy in an attempt to lure quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton to Miami.

At the same time, the investigator, former US Attorney Mary Jo White, found no evidence that Ross ordered former team coach Brian Flores to deliberately lose games in order to improve his position in the college draft. a federal lawsuit in February, a month after the Dolphins fired him.

White determined that Ross’s offer to pay Flores $100,000 for every Dolphins game lost—one of the most provocative claims in his lawsuit—”was not intended or taken as a serious offer, and the matter was in no way discussed by Mr. White.” Ross or anyone else in the club.

However, as a result of the counterfeiting allegations, the Dolphins forfeit their first-round pick in 2023 and their third-round pick in 2024. Ross will be suspended until October. 17. He is not allowed on team property and may not represent the club at any team or league events. He will be removed from all league committees indefinitely and must pay a $1.5 million fine. Ross was a member of three influential committees: media, finance, and gambling.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement that White found fraudulent violations of “unprecedented scale and severity.” He added: “I don’t know of any previous case where property rights were so directly involved in violations.”

The findings came after a six-month investigation that began later. Flores sued.. It contained allegations that the league and its teams set up dummy interviews with Flores and other coaches of color to circumvent rules requiring teams to interview a diverse set of candidates for top jobs.

Flores cited text messages from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick apparently congratulating Flores on landing a coaching job with the Giants, for which he had yet to be interviewed. Flores responded by asking if Belichick meant the message to another Brian – Brian Daball – and Belichick admitted that he was. Daball, who is white, was given a spot with the Giants, leading Flores to conclude that the Giants had made their decision before Flores was interrogated.

Flores’ lawsuit, which is still pending, also included allegations against Ross, who fired Flores after the 2021 season after three years as head coach for the Dolphins. Flores claimed that Ross tried to bribe him into losing games and circumvented the league’s ban on talking to other contracted players and coaches without their teams’ permission.

The league determined that the Dolphins had inappropriate ties to Brady during the 2019 season and the postseason while he was with the Patriots. These reports have been called “numerous and detailed”. The Dolphins were again found to have had inappropriate contacts with Brady and his agent during the 2021 season while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including discussions of Brady partnering with the Dolphins.

It was also revealed that the Dolphins had improperly attempted to lure Payton to the team’s coaching position in January, while he was still the coach of the New Orleans Saints.

“As far as falsification goes, I strongly disagree with the findings and punishment,” Ross said. said in a statement. “However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that our team does not get distracted as we start an exciting and winning season.”

Numerous owners have been fined by the NFL over the years, although suspensions are less common. Among them were Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. of the San Francisco 49ers, who was suspended for the 1999 season after pleading guilty to a felony related to Louisiana river casino licenses, and Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, who was suspended for six games in 2014 after pleading guilty to drunk driving. .

Last year, the NFL fined the Washington football team $10 million after investigating a club culture of sexual harassment. Owner Daniel Snyder withdrew from the day-to-day activities of the club until mid-October.

Victor Mather made a report.