Dolphins owner suspended, team loses draft picks for Brady, Payton tampering

the nfl Announced Tuesday that an independent investigation determined the miami dolphins had inadmissible communications with Tom Brady and former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

As a result, the league is stripping the Dolphins of their 2023 first-round pick and their 2024 third-round pick for violating its game integrity policy.

Additionally, the NFL will suspend Miami owner Stephen Ross through Oct. 17 and fine him $1.5 million. The league will also remove him from all committees indefinitely and bar him from attending any NFL meetings until the league’s annual meeting in 2023.

The investigation found that the Dolphins manipulated Brady while he was under contract with the New England Patriots in 2019-20 and after his 2021 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Miami also violated league rules through its communications with Payton in January.

“Investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I am not aware of any previous case of a team violating the ban on manipulating both a head coach and a star player, to the potential detriment of many other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I am not aware of any case in which the property was so directly involved in the violations.”

The NFL also fined Dolphins vice president/limited partner Bruce Beal $500,000 and barred him from attending any league meetings for the remainder of the 2022 campaign.

However, the league found no evidence to support the allegations made by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

Flores said he refused to accept a $100,000-per-game offer to tank during his first season with Miami. The investigation found that the offer was not intended or taken as serious.

“Every club is expected to make a good faith effort to win every game,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game and the public’s confidence in professional football demand no less.

“An owner or senior executive must understand the weight of their words and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intention or expectation. Even if it is made in jest and is not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that draft position is more important than winning may be misconstrued and carry an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game.”

Goodell continued: “The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to (winning), and the Dolphins competed to win every game. Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comment on the relative importance of position in the draft — to affect their commitment to (win) throughout the season.”

Ross said the independent investigation cleared the Dolphins organization of “any issues related to the tank and all other Brian Flores allegations.” But Ross expressed his disagreement with the findings of the manipulation investigation.

“However, I will accept the result because the most important thing is that there are no distractions for our team as we start an exciting and winning season,” he said in a statement. statement.

The sanctions imposed on the Dolphins are final and do not include any type of appeal process.

Meanwhile, Flores said he was thankful the investigation corroborated his allegations, but was disheartened by Ross’s punishment.

“I am disappointed to learn that the investigator downplayed Mr. Ross’ offers and pressure to tank games, especially as I wrote and submitted a letter at that time to Dolphins executives documenting my serious concerns regarding this issue at that time. moment, which the investigator has in his possession,” Flores said in a statement obtained by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

“While the investigator found that the Dolphins had engaged in impermissible tampering of ‘unprecedented scope and severity,’ Mr. Ross will prevent any significant consequences. Nothing is more important when it comes to the game of football than the integrity of the game. When the integrity of the game is called into question, the fans suffer and football suffers.”

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