Sportswriter on how NFL sends message by suspending Miami Dolphins owner

For the Miami Dolphins players, it’s business as usual on the training ground as they prepare for their upcoming season.

But behind the scenes, the NFL has unleashed an explosive punishment against the team and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for a major felony. tampering violations.

An independent investigation revealed that the Dolphins tried to sign quarterback Tom Brady on several occasions while he was under contract with other teams. An investigation also revealed that the Dolphins also made contact with an agent for former New Orleans head coach Sean Payton while he was with the Saints.

The Dolphins will lose a first-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 draft. Ross is suspended until Oct. 17 and will be fined $1.5 million.

Investigation findings come after Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games after being accused by two dozen women in Texas of sexual misconduct during massages.

Conor Orr, a Sports Illustrated writer, told CBS News the NFL was placed in a unique position in the face of both the Dolphins’ tampering findings and Watson’s suspension.

“You don’t normally see a commissioner going out in a disciplinary process like this and prosecuting an owner like he did,” Orr said.

“They were put in a corner because they never punished the owners as much as they were trying to punish Deshaun Watson. Maybe that’s why you’re seeing such a shift in tone. [Roger] Goodell and maybe that’s why you see the league being a little less fearful today in terms of criticism of other owners,” added Orr.

The investigation comes after former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.

Flores told “CBS Mornings” in February that Ross offered to pay him $100,000 for every loss during the coach’s first season because Ross wanted to protect the team’s draft pick.

“This game changed my life. So to attack the integrity of the game, that’s what I felt was happening in this case. And I wouldn’t stand it,” Flores told “CBS Mornings.”

But the league’s investigation found the Dolphins did not intentionally lose any games during the 2019 season. And no one at the club, including Mr Ross, asked Coach Flores to do so. .

But he notes that Ross has expressed his belief that the team’s draft position “should take precedence over the team’s win-loss record.”

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that “although made in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting draft position is more important than winning can be misunderstood”.

Ross says the league has cleared the team of Flores’ allegations. In a statement, Ross said he strongly disagrees with the tampering investigation’s findings and punishment, but would accept the outcome.

Flores, now an assistant coach for the Pittsburg Steelers, said in a statement: “I am disappointed to learn that the investigator downplayed offers and pressure from Mr. Ross on tank games, particularly when I wrote and submitted a letter at the time to Dolphins management documenting my serious concerns regarding this matter at the time the investigator is in his possession.

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