NFL Fines, Suspends Dolphins Owner for Tampering

    NFL Fines, Suspends Dolphins Owner for Tampering
    Last updated Aug 09, 2022
    Image credit: Getty Images [via NY Post]


    • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was suspended Tues. by the NFL through Oct. 17, 2022, and fined $1.5M for tampering with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton while they were with other organizations.[1]
    • In addition to Ross' fine and suspension, the Dolphins will forfeit a 2023 first-round and a 2024 third-round draft pick. Ross is not permitted to enter a Dolphins facility until his suspension has been served.[2]
    • Miami's punishment is the result of a six-month NFL investigation that found the Dolphins had prohibited conversations with Brady between 2019 and 2022, while he was playing with both the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and with Payton, who was coaching the New Orleans Saints, in an attempt to actively recruit them.[3]
    • The investigation also looked into allegations from former head coach Brian Flores, who said he was offered $100K for each loss in hopes that a losing season would secure the team with top-level draft picks. In its investigation, the league found Ross made the comments, but they were "not intended or taken to be a serious offer."[3]
    • Ross has also been prohibited from attending any league meeting before the annual meeting in 2023 and has been removed from all committees indefinitely. Bruce Beal, the team's vice chairman, was fined $500K for conducting the prohibited communications and has been barred from league meetings through the end of 2022.[4]
    • In a statement, Ross voiced his disagreement with the decision to punish the Dolphins for tampering but accepted the league's conclusions, saying "the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season."[5]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The NFL is showing it takes misconduct seriously. It is very unusual for you to see the NFL commissioner go after an owner with such veracity. Considering Ross' punishment, and the NFL's current attempt to get Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson suspended for longer than the six games that an independent disciplinary officer banned him for, Roger Goodell seems to be growing in confidence when it comes to cracking down on actions that tarnish the league's image.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Many of the problems in the NFL begin with the team owners. Before the Ross suspension, the NFL's slap on the wrist for Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder proved it is incapable of policing itself. Weak punishments only serve as an optical illusion to distract from the seriousness of these violations and keep the league gaining fans and pocketing their money.

    Narrative C

    Interestingly, had the Dolphins flopped in 2019, Ross' punishment could've been much more severe. Ross should be more apologetic, especially toward Flores, who coached his team so well that the investigation determined the offer to tank games wasn't serious.

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