NFL suspends Miami Dolphins owner and strips team of draft picks after tampering and tanking probe

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(CNN)The NFL stripped the Miami Dolphins of 2 draught picks and suspended and fined proprietor Stephen Ross aft a probe into allegations of tampering and tanking recovered that his team had impermissible interaction with prima backmost Tom Brady and the cause of erstwhile Saints manager Sean Payton.

The investigation, led by erstwhile US Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White and lawyers from the Debevoise instrumentality firm, determined that the Dolphins violated anti-tampering rules connected 3 occasions, the NFL announced successful a quality merchandise Tuesday. The probe besides recovered that the squad did not intentionally suffer games, known arsenic tanking, but noted that Ross repeatedly suggested that the squad should prioritize its draught presumption implicit winning games during the 2019 season, the merchandise said.

As punishment, the Dolphins volition forfeit their first-round prime successful the 2023 draught and a third-round prime successful the 2024 draft. Ross is suspended done October 17, six games into the 2022 season, and fined $1.5 million, the merchandise said.

    "With regards to tampering, I powerfully disagree with the conclusions and the punishment," Ross said successful a connection posted connected the Miami Dolphins Twitter account. "However, I volition judge the result due to the fact that the astir important happening is that determination beryllium nary distractions for our squad arsenic we statesman an breathtaking and winning season. I volition not let thing to get successful the mode of that."

      The probe recovered that the Dolphins had "impermissible communications" with Brady successful 2019-20 portion helium was a subordinate of the New England Patriots and again during and aft the 2021 play erstwhile helium was nether declaration with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the NFL release. Those 2nd discussions focused connected Brady "becoming a constricted spouse successful the Dolphins and perchance serving arsenic a shot executive," and besides included the anticipation of playing for the Dolphins, the probe found.

      The league recovered Dolphins Vice Chairman Bruce Beal spearheaded the interaction with Brady and fined him $500,000. The Dolphins had nary remark erstwhile asked astir Beal's actions.

      Further, successful January 2022, the Dolphins had "impermissible communications" with the cause of Payton, who astatine the clip was the New Orleans Saints caput manager and has since retired.

        "The investigators recovered tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said successful a statement. "I cognize of nary anterior lawsuit of a squad violating the prohibition connected tampering with some a caput manager and prima player, to the imaginable detriment of aggregate different clubs, implicit a play of respective years. Similarly, I cognize of nary anterior lawsuit successful which ownership was truthful straight progressive successful the violations."

        Former Miami Dolphins manager  Brian Flores describes being offered wealth  to suffer  games

        The probe besides examined whether the Dolphins intentionally mislaid games successful the 2019 play to amended their draught position, known arsenic tanking. The Dolphins yet finished the 2019 play with a 5-11 grounds and earned the 5th prime successful the 2020 NFL draft.

        The NFL probe recovered the squad did not suffer games intentionally nor did immoderate subordinate from the club, including Ross, instruct past Dolphins manager Brian Flores to suffer games, according to the release. However, the probe recovered that Ross repeatedly expressed his content that the team's draught presumption should instrumentality precedence implicit the win-loss record.

        In February, Flores told CNN that Ross explicitly told him helium would springiness him $100,000 for each crippled Flores would lose. Ross denied the accusations astatine the time, calling the claims "baseless, unfair and disparaging."

        The probe recovered that radical had "differing recollections astir the wording, timing, and context" of the claimed offer, according to the NFL quality release.

        "However phrased, specified a remark was not intended oregon taken to beryllium a superior offer, nor was the taxable pursued successful immoderate respect by Mr. Ross oregon anyone other astatine the club," the merchandise states.

        Goodell said successful a connection that the comment, adjacent if made arsenic a joke, risked damaging the integrity of the game.

        "Every nine is expected to marque a bully religion effort to triumph each game," helium said successful a statement. "The integrity of the game, and nationalist assurance successful nonrecreational football, request nary less. An proprietor oregon elder enforcement indispensable recognize the value that his oregon her words carry, and the hazard that a remark volition beryllium taken earnestly and acted upon, adjacent if that is not the intent oregon expectation. Even if made successful jest and not intended to beryllium taken seriously, comments suggesting that draught presumption is much important than winning tin beryllium misunderstood and transportation with them an unnecessary imaginable hazard to the integrity of the game."

        He praised Flores, who was fired earlier this twelvemonth and has sued the Dolphins, the NFL and different teams alleging radical discrimination, for continuing to effort to triumph games. The NFL and teams person denied the allegations.

        "The comments made by Mr. Ross did not impact Coach Flores' committedness to triumph and the Dolphins competed to triumph each game," Goodell said. "Coach Flores is to beryllium commended for not allowing immoderate remark astir the comparative value of draught presumption to impact his committedness to triumph passim the season."

        Flores and attorneys accidental helium was proved correct

        In a statement, Flores expressed his disappointment successful what helium says is the NFL probe downplaying Ross's comments connected tanking.

        "I americium thankful that the NFL's researcher recovered my factual allegations against Stephen Ross are true," Flores said. "At the aforesaid time, I americium disappointed to larn that the researcher minimized Mr. Ross's offers and unit to vessel games particularly erstwhile I wrote and submitted a missive astatine the clip to Dolphins executives documenting my superior concerns regarding this taxable astatine the clip which the researcher has successful her possession."

        His attorneys, Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis, expressed akin disappointment successful the investigation's appraisal of Ross's comments.

        Former Miami Dolphins caput  manager  Brian Flores claims helium  was offered wealth  to support  quiescent  aft  firing

        "We are surely disheartened that the investigator, and seemingly the Commissioner, excused highly inappropriate comments that spell to the bosom of the game's integrity regarding tanking arsenic being successful jest particularly erstwhile determination was a missive written by Coach Flores astatine the clip demonstrating the gravity with which these comments were received by Coach Flores," they said successful a statement.

        "The punishment announced contiguous is evidently inadequate and disheartening. Unfortunately, it remains wide that the NFL cannot constabulary itself, which is wherefore we look guardant to continuing to propulsion the ineligible process, beryllium each of Brian's claims, arsenic good arsenic those of a people of achromatic executives, coaches and candidate, and unit existent alteration upon the NFL."

          Meanwhile, Ross successful his connection said the probe had cleared the Dolphins of tanking.

          "The autarkic probe cleared our enactment of immoderate issues related to tanking and each of Brian Flores' different allegations," helium said. "As I person said each along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this contented is present enactment to rest."

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