The NFL suspended Miami Dolphins owner Steven M. Ross and stripped of two draft picks after an investigator found the team violated the league’s anti-cheating policy and attempted to cheat quarterback Tom Brady and former head coach Sean Payton in Miami.
Meanwhile, the investigator, former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, found no evidence that Ross ordered the team’s former head coach, Brian Flores, to intentionally lose games to improve his position in the college draft. lawsuit in February.
White ruled that Ross’s offer to pay Flores $100,000 for each game the Dolphins lost — one of the most sensational claims in his lawsuit — “was not intended or considered a serious offer, nor was it considered by Mr. Ross. Or anyone else in the club. “
However, as a result of the fraud charges, the Dolphins will forfeit a 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round pick. Ross will be suspended until October 17 and will not be allowed in the team facility and cannot represent the club at any team or league events. He will be suspended indefinitely from all league committees and must pay a $1.5 million fine.
In a statement, Goodell said White found a breach of “unprecedented scope and severity.” He added: “I’m not aware of a previous case where a property has been so directly involved in breaches.”
The findings came after a six-month investigation that began after Flores filed suit in federal court. The heart of the lawsuit included allegations that the league and its teams set up mock interviews with Flores and other coaches of color to comply with rules requiring teams to interview diverse candidates for top jobs.
But the lawsuit, which is still pending, also included allegations against Rossi, who fired Flores three years after the 2021 season. Flores claimed Ross tried to bribe him to lose games and denied the league’s contractual ban on talking to other players and coaches without their teams’ permission.
The Dolphins were found to have improper communications with Brady during the 2019 season and postseason while he was playing for the New England Patriots. It said these communications were “numerous and detailed”. The Dolphins were found to have continued impermissible communications with Brady and his agent during the 2021 season while he was playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including discussions about Brady becoming a Dolphins partner.
It also turned out that the Dolphins had made an improper attempt to lure Payton as the team’s coach in January while he was still the coach of the New Orleans Saints.