The tampering allegations faced by the Dolphins have led to serious consequences for the organization. Owner Stephen Ross has been suspended for the beginning of the 2022 season, and the team has been docked two draft picks (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). ESPN’s Jeff Darlington notes that the decision is final, and there is no appeals process (Twitter link).
Ross will be suspended through October 17 of this year. He is also banned from all league committees and is not allowed to attend league meetings until March 2023. In addition, he has been fined $1.5MM. The draft picks the team is forfeiting are a first-round selection in 2023, as well as a third-rounder in 2024. Dolphins vice chairman Bruce Beal, who is also a TB12 board member (per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times), has also been suspended and fined $500K.
The full findings of the league’s investigations into the team’s attempts to acquire quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton include “tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” per commissioner Roger Goodell. The league has found that the Dolphins engaged in “impermissible communications” with Brady dating back to 2019-20, when he was with the Patriots (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).
Miami likewise held illegal talks with Brady while he was a member of the Buccaneers, pertaining to a potential ownership stake, Schefter adds. As for Payton, the league has found that the Dolphins’ initial talks with him took place before before his decision to step away from the Saints in January, and that permission was still not granted by the Saints after that decision (Twitter links).
“With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment,” Ross said in a statement. “However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I will not allow anything to get in the way of that.”
Reports surfaced early in the offseason of repeated attempts by Ross to bring Brady (who has a well-known personal relationship with Ross and Beal) to Miami as the team’s quarterback and/or minority owner. The move was expected to represent a package deal with Payton, but fell through in the wake of Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against, among others, the team. Much of the story was first detailed by PFT’s Mike Florio, but was later corroborated by a number of outlets; today’s new confirms what many had already suspected based on that reporting.
The punishment handed down to Ross, Beal and the organization is meant to “deter future violations and safeguard the integrity of the game,” per the league’s ruling. While it remains to be seen if it will have the intended effect in future cases of the sort, the Dolphins certainly face a steep price for their actions.
71 comments on “Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Suspended; Team Docked Draft Picks For Tampering”
That’s way too harsh
It’s not like he did something minor like sexually harass a bunch of massage therapists.
*Ahem* Assault. But he was nice about it.
There’s quite a difference between violence/threats and propositioning someone. What is your purpose in attempting to erase that distinction?
To be fair, if you want to deter this sort of tampering, you need to lay down the letter of the law. The NBA fails to do so, contributing to a rampant issue within the league
The league has a duty to punish violations of the game rules more than it has a duty to punish outside violations. Other authorities have a greater responsibility to punish those issues, but nobody else is responsible for the league rules. I’m not arguing against the harshness for those issues, but league violations do deserve harsh punishments because nobody else will do so.
Exactly what i was going to say
Let’s not bring light to this! Just revisit the Pats video taping on the sidelines from years past! Crooked Dolphins and their shady owner finally caught!
Is this related to the Tom Brady/Sean Payton thing or is there something else?
Thanks. Posted this question before the rest of the article was posted.
Is this the start of the NFL making teams take the Rooney Rule seriously
Nothing to do with that. It’s about tampering with Brady and Payton. They also investigated tanking claims, but concluded there was nothing sufficient to punish there. Nothing else relating to Flores in this.
Yeah, my comment came prior to the paragraph 3 being written. That’s my bad. Completely forgot about this issue.
Such a serious violation.. Especially since they didn’t get either. first and a third??
NFL is a complete JOKE!
Roger Goodell is a CLOWN.
A $1.5m fine for a multibillionare? That’s like us getting $1.50 fine. I’m sure he’s sweating that.
But the suspension and especially the draft picks are a very harsh punishment.
The Fins will be represented by an executive or another high level staff member. And as bad as Miami drafts, the picks would have been wasted anyways.
There’s never any consistency to how the league handles disciplinary decisions. To me, that’s Goodell’s legacy “make stuff up on the fly…’.
The suspension is hardly anything. Misses the first 6 weeks of the season and I’m sure they’ll allow the Dolphins to have a replacement representative in his place for the league meetings. And he’ll probably slowly get put back on league committees after his ban ends.
The picks are definitely a massive penalty.
A 1st and a 3rd is a massive penalty.
I guess. But the Fins did nothing w/ the Tunsil trade picks.
I have no idea how that is relevant. It’s a 1st and a 3rd. That’s a huge penalty regardless of how good they are at drafting.
Ask the Rams how valuable 1st round picked are. Heck, they continually trade 2nd’s and 3rd’s as well.
Hahahah in some ways Ross gets a stiffer sentence than DeShaun Watson!!
Stiffer? Too soon man…
Ha, I was not thinking that way
It’s amazing how many misdeeds are getting punished less severely than Calvin Ridley was for making $3900 worth of bets.
A 1st and 3rd round pick is less punishment?
Yes, compared to making a guy sit out his whole fifth season and docking his whole $11 million salary, which roughly matches his total pay from his first four seasons. It also affects his earning power going forward, while removing one of his peak seasons. That is a much greater punishment to Ridley than this is to Ross or the Dolphins. Heck, is getting docked a first and third round pick all that much worse than what Grier does with draft picks most of the time?
The number one rule in all of sports is you don’t gamble on the sport you play. The amount gambled is irrelevant. Losing only one season is not the end all for him, just look at Pete Rose. Regardless of your opinion of the dolphins ability to draft, forfeiting the chance to draft two potential starters on rookie contracts for multiple seasons trumps the 5th year option of Calvin Ridley. Is the punishment more severe to Ridley, yea okay I will give you that considering Ross is a billionaire. Comparing a millionaire to a billionaire…both will be just fine. But for the team’s punishment, losing one season of Ridley versus 7 years of two potential starters is not in the same ballpark. The dolphins were punished way more than the falcons. Calvin Ridley losing the season actually helps him. What if he regressed this season, or suffered a massive injury? His earning power would have clearly suffered. In this case, he sits out after a monster season. He will come back to a contract worth 10+/year, I guarantee it. If he were inured, maybe he has to take a prove it deal. Deshaun watson shows you that a team will take you and pay you even if you sat out a season for disciplinary reasons
Ridley losing the season actually helps him? Nope. That’s just nonsense right there. And no, a millionaire and billionaire aren’t going to be fine just the same. Ross regularly gains or loses $1.5 million in literally a matter of seconds in market fluctuation, whereas $11 million would match Ridley’s career earnings.
And I get the number one rule and Pete Rose and all of that, but the modern NFL and its popularity are practically built on gambling. They’re partnered with gambling platforms and sponsored by them. Gambling isn’t the third rail it used to be, especially not in football.
It is the third rail for athletes to bet on sports they play. It would ruin the sport if they start throwing games. He should be banded for life.
I must have missed the point in time that the integrity of the game took a back seat to an unrelated sponsorship. All sports have a gambling aspect and have since long before Calvin Ridley’s grandpa decided to bang his grandma and pop out his father. It’s literally the easiest rule to follow, gamble all you want just don’t do it on your sport. No one will care. He was already paid $10 million. He didn’t lose any of that already gotten money. He just won’t get this seasons salary. He still probably has money coming in from endorsements as well. He wasn’t fined $11 million, so he just doesn’t get paid for one year. Again, he will have several multimillion contracts waiting for him next season.
Calvin Ridley’s value was at a peak, so yea I think it’s easier for him to hurt his future earnings by playing and getting hurt in his final year versus having to sit the season. That’s just my POV. You don’t think Ridley’s earning potential wouldn’t take a hit if he tore his Achilles of and ACL next season. Injuries can happen at any minute, so yea he may have gotten $11 million last year but he would probably lose out on 30+ in guarantees if he didn’t produce or gets hurt.
Long term, Calvin will be fine. He will get paid. But as far as on field punishment, I disagree with your assessment that Ridley is being punished more severely. It’s a difficult comp, player vs team, but I will take 7 years of cheap starters over 1 year of an expensive one…especially in through the falcons/dolphins lens
Being suspended without pay for your whole fifth year is a bad thing, not a good thing. There’s no debating this.
And yes, it was a stupid, obvious mistake he shouldn’t have made, but the idea that his tiny bet is worse for the integrity of the game than the Ross business, the Watson business, or plenty of other things strikes me as baloney.
Yes it is bad but it’s not the end of the world, especially when his actual on field value won’t take a hit. You make it sound like this kid was robbed of his future. It’s one season. Instead of $100 million in his first 10 years he will make 90…that poor guy.
Players gambling on the sports they play…can’t see that impacting integrity of the sport versus an owner trying to pair a coach and qb? You compare a PR nightmare with a thing that can actually impact games. You mistake integrity of the league (watson, Kraft, Ross, Elliot, etc.) with integrity of the game (Ridley, brady)
Come on. The investigation even conceded that Ross made the 100k comments to Flores about tanking. That’s a lot worse for the integrity of the game than some low stakes impulse bets by one player.
And it’s hard to believe this won’t significantly affect Ridley’s next contract.
I guess we will see…but I can def see him getting a multi year deal worth 15+/season. This suspension does nothing to his future contract in my eyes. His time away is not injury related, it’s not legally related, unless teams are now suspect of his own personal integrity. Like if he was so willing to gamble on sports, maybe he is willing to take money to influence the game.
Like i said before, someone gave watson the largest contract ever and he had 20+ lawsuits hanging over his head. I believe Ridley will do just fine.
His free agency is delayed by a year. He’s flat out losing a paid year of his prime.
Unless I am wrong, he is suspended and not holding out, which means his contract won’t toll. He will be a free agent this off-season
You’re welcome to look it up.
The NFL is partners with alcohol distribution too but they will punish players for getting a DUI.
@Oof; thanks for launching this Ridley thread. I’m enjoying everyone’s reposts as well.
My take. This goes on more often than we think. Calvin just got caught. I’m a fantasy league player. There are some players I avoid using because from week to week, to this amatuer eye, it looks like there is inconsistency in performance. If you want me to name names, I will not go there. Just know, that for me, it plays a role in me determining who to use on any given week. Quite honestly, I’m more than surprised thus curious why the league embraces this activity as intensely as it does.
This type of activity by participants can truly destroy a sport! To send a clear message to the rest of the league, a greater length of suspension, IMHO, should have been imposed here.
Ross clearly wants a super bowl in the worst way.
The only thing that really hurts is the 2023 first rounder.
got my popcorn ready for whatever happens to dan snyder
Wow a 1st and a 3rd? That’s absurd.
And nothing for Brady for partaking in the discussions? Just another scandal in Brady’s illustrious career.
Yep, wondering the same thing. “Takes 2 to tango”. And Peyton too. Any repercussions for their involvement?
Well, Payton is not currently employed by the league (perhaps he saw this coming?), but Brady is. It seems extremely hypocritical that he continues to play with no penalty. But we’ve seen that before, so no real surprises there.
Did Payton’s and Brady’s stepping away (albeit briefly in Brady’s case) have anything to do with anticipation of punishment for this? I wouldn’t expect that, but it’d be an interesting question to ask.
#Ak185; well said. And yes, agreed. I’m thinking Payton saw this coming an got him some good legal advice?
This is harsher than the Watson suspension.
They’d botch the picks anyway, but why not just do things the right way? Follow rules. Never mind what Watson or Brady or the Pats deserve, just do things the right way yourself!
Time to purge the NFL of these type of (((owners))).
Goodell sucks. NFL sucks.. Enough said. Dock a first because they spoke to Tom Brady.. I get tampering and league rules but what dictates disciplinary actions? Goodell….So he is going to take a first round and a third for talking to a player they never got? Seems extreme…….
Again it all comes down to the supreme leader of the NFL Roger Goodell… Screw him
KC lost a third rounder and a quarter million for tampering with Jeremy Maclin six years ago. Adjusting for inflation and player profile, that’s about right, especially if you compound for multiple counts.
It also seems pretty clear from the official statement that they do think Ross was trying to tank, but they don’t want to explicitly drop the hammer on him for that, so they’re putting everything on the same tab.
It doesn’t matter whether you got the player or not. Try robbing a bank and using the excuse that you didn’t get the money as your defense.
“YO Lebron, how did you get out of Cleveland again?” Baker Mayfield
Baker got out of Cleveland by being the 26th rated quarterback. Try to keep up Rosemarie
Baker Mayfield to the Factory of Sadness
Dilly Dilly !!!
Is Brady going to be punished too?
I like Charles Robinson’s take, via Twitter: “To summarize the #NFL’s investigation into the #Dolphins: ‘Every allegation that is damaging to the franchise and owner Stephen Ross is true, except for that one part about financially incentivizing tanking (which would fundamentally damage the league).'”
NFL says ok to tanking, no ok to tampering. Makes sense?
Why not fine then players and agents as well?
So, this explains the weird “we are retiring” kabuki that both Brady and Payton engaged in.
Is negotiating an ownership stake to play for another team while being the QB of another team a violation of a player’s contract, as well? Coach’s?
Tanking… A new concept in the NFL? No… Been around for many years to the fact that even the media openly calls it out.
The real issue is the “tampering” because teams don’t do that either…….. unless they get caught.
Then you have Brian FLores… THE SNITCH… Now the disgruntled head coach gets his revenge on the franchise by whistleblowing..
Good job Brian… SNITCH. Hope the Fins kick the crap out of the Steelers.
Dolphins got caught. Pay the price
Brownsbacker9 • 3 hours ago
Dolphins got caught. Pay the price
This statement should not be made by any supporter of a Jimmy Haslam run organization. Just ask the 17 employees that took the fall to save the ownership.
I’m not a trucker. Watson got caught and got suspended. Why do you think the Dolphins shouldn’t have to pay?
Does Barstools still sell the Goodell clown shirts?
All due respect, but if the Dolphins were illegally communicating with Brady while he was with the Patriots..how come Brady isn’t facing any punishment? It would appear he voluntarily reciprocated said communication, so shouldn’t he be in trouble too?
Brady: no penalty
Payton: no penalty
If I’m the saints and patriots, I’m furious. The players and coaches are some Teflon for tampering but nothing else. That’s wild to me.
Also how the hell did Ross avoid the tanking charges? Because it would validate Brian Flores?