Owner of the Miami Dolphins and real estate developer, Stephen Ross, has been fined $1.5 million and barred from participating in team activities and events until October 17. Standing in solidarity with Ross is Bruce Beal, who received a lesser fine of $500,000 after allegations of coach and player tampering were made alongside claims that the team would purposefully lose games to boost its draft prospects.
The league’s investigation into reports of tanking and tampering led to the penalties. Consequently, the Dolphins will give up their first-round and third-round draft picks in 2023 and 2024.
In his racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and teams, former Miami coach Brian Flores claimed that the Dolphins had offered him $100,000 to lose games during the 2019 season to improve his draft positioning. The investigation is being supervised by former U.S. attorney and chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White.
The investigation found that while the team did not deliberately lose games, it did engage in improper conversations between 2019 and 2022 with Sean Payton’s agent, Don Yee, regarding hiring Payton as Miami’s head coach.
The Dolphins’ vice chairman, Bruce Beal, contacted Brady about joining the team in various capacities while Brady was already under contract, first with New England and then with Tampa Bay. According to the league, Ross and Beal were “active participants” in those conversations.
Even though the investigation found no proof that the team purposefully lost games, Beal received a $500,000 fine and will be prohibited from attending league meetings for the rest of the 2022 campaign. While the NFL stated that Ross “expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming annual draft should take priority over the team’s win-loss record.” on numerous occasions.
In a statement delivered via the Miami Dolphins Twitter, Stephen Ross addressed the chaos circling his name by posting, “The independent investigation cleared our organization on any issues related to tanking. With regard to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment. However, I will accept the outcome.”
Ross referred to Flores’ claims as “false, malicious, and defamatory” but expressed excitement for the Dolphins having “no distractions” as the 2022 season gets underway.
According to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “an owner or senior executive must understand the weight that their words carry and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon. The Dolphins competed to win every game, unaffected by Mr. Ross’ remarks about Coach Flores’ commitment to victory.”
In a statement, Flores expressed his gratitude for the NFL’s investigator, concluding that his allegations against Stephen Ross are true.