NFL suspends Dolphins owner Ross for tampering with Brady
By ROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer
The NFL has suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and fined him $1.5 million for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton following a six-month investigation stemming from Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.
The league's investigation found the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season but the team had impermissible communication with Brady and his agent, Don Yee.
The investigation established violations of the Anti-Tampering Policy on three separate occasions:
- The Dolphins had impermissible communications with quarterback Tom Brady in 2019-20, while he was under contract to the New England Patriots. Those communications began as early as August 2019 and continued throughout the 2019 season and post-season. These numerous and detailed discussions were conducted by Mr. Beal, who in turn kept Mr. Ross and other Dolphins executives informed of his discussions with Mr. Brady.
- The Dolphins again had impermissible communications with both Mr. Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins. Both Messrs. Ross and Beal were active participants in these discussions.
- In January 2022, the Dolphins had impermissible communications with Don Yee, the agent for New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, about having Mr. Payton serve as Miami’s head coach. Miami did not seek consent from New Orleans to have these discussions, which occurred before Coach Payton announced his decision to retire as head coach of the Saints. Following that announcement, Miami requested permission to speak to Coach Payton for the first time, which New Orleans declined to grant.
The report stated the following discipline will be imposed:
- The Dolphins will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft and third-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.
- Mr. Ross is suspended through October 17, 2022. During this period, he may not be present at the Dolphins’ facility and may not represent the club at any team or NFL event. He may not attend any League meeting prior to the Annual Meeting in 2023, is removed from all League committees indefinitely, and fined $1.5 million.
- Mr. Bruce Beal, Dolphins’ Vice Chairman/Limited Partner, may not attend any League meeting for the remainder of the 2022 season and is fined $500,000