Dolphins celebrate a touchdown
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates after running to gain yardage, during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Dolphins Lose Picks and Owner Amidst Tampering Allegations

The NFL and other major sports associations have been cracking down on tampering. The Dolphins were the latest to be penalized for what the NFL called “impermissible communications” with Tom Brady while he was under contract with the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins were punished by being stripped of their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. At the same time, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was suspended through Oct. 17 and fined $1.5 million. Mr.Bruce Beal, Dolphins’ Vice Chairman and Limited Partner, can not attend any League meetings for the season and will be fined $500,000.

Tampering Investigation

“The Investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” Commissioner Goodell said.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington explains the charges of tampering given to the Dolphins and ownership.

The investigation from the NFL, released here, diligently goes through the infractions that the Dolphins organization and ownership committed in the past few seasons.

The Dolphins began communicating with Brady in August of the 2019-2020 season while he was under contract with the Patriots. The NFL says that the numerous amounts of conversations held between Dolphins executives and Brady through the season and post were the first infraction.

The Dolphins again engaged in communications with Brady during the 2021 season. Brady was under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the time.  These discussions began in December and entailed Brady becoming a business partner with the Dolphins. These discussions also talked about the possibility of Brady playing for the Dolphins and becoming an executive.

Then a month later, in January of 2022, the dolphins again had prohibited communication with Don Yee. Yee is the agent for New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. The conversation with Yee involved having Payton become Miami’s new head coach. Miami did not seek consent from the Saints to communicate with Payton the first time. But did request permission once Payton had retired as head coach.

Goodell had this to say when discussing the findings, “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and a star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs,…Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in those violations.”

Tanking Investigation

ESPN’s Darlington talks Dolphin tanking allegations and repercussions of tampering.

The Dolphins were also investigated on charges of tanking. The allegations claimed that the team lost games on purpose during the 2019 season to improve their position in the 2020 draft. The investigation from the NFL “conclusively established” that the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season.

Allegations regarding Ross’ comments on the importance of draft placement over their win-loss record were misunderstandings as put by the NFL. The Dolphins’ head coach at the time, Brian Flores, thought Ross’s comments were suggestions for him to lose games. Flores was uncomfortable with this and voiced his concerns.

In their press release, the NFL said, “One such comment is a claimed offer by Mr. Ross to pay Coach Flores $100,000 to lose games…However phrased, such a comment was not intended or taken to be a serious offer, nor was the subject pursued in any respect by Mr. Ross or anyone else by the club.”

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