August 8, 2022

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NFL Dolphins probe finds tampering violations, fines owner Ross

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Miami Dolphins owner and real estate developer Stephen Ross has been fined $1.5 million and suspended from participating in team events and operations through Oct. 17 after the team was found to have violated NFL tampering policies, the league said Tuesday.

The Dolphins will also forfeit the team’s first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and their third-round pick in the 2024 draft.

The penalties mark the conclusion of the NFL’s investigation into reports that the Dolphins tampered with coaches and players from other teams and that it intentionally lost games to improve its draft prospects.

The team did not intentionally lose games, according to the investigation, but did hold conversations between 2019 and 2022 with then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the agent of then-Saints coach Sean Payton that went against the league’s policies.

“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years.”

Brady was under contract, first with New England and then with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when Bruce Beal, the Dolphins vice chairman, contacted him about joining the team in various capacities, according to the investigation. Beal and Ross were both “active participants” in those discussions, the league said.

The team also contacted Don Yee, the agent of Sean Payton, about having Payton serve as Miami’s head coach, the investigation found. The team did not seek the consent of the Saints organization before reaching out, according to the probe, and when they eventually did seek that consent, New Orleans declined.

Beal was fined $500,000 and is not allowed to attend league meetings for the remainder of the 2022 season.

While the investigation found no evidence that the team intentionally lost games, the NFL…

2022-08-02 14:45:33

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