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Six months after former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams, the league has charged the Dolphins with incentivizing losses and applying pressure to improperly recruit QB Tom Brady.
On Tuesday as the league stripped the Miami Dolphins of their 2023 first-round pick, among other measures, for tampering violations commissioner Roger Goodell said were of “unprecedented scope and severity.”
Was Brian Flores proven right?
The NFL and several teams named in the lawsuit have denied the allegations, saying they have not discriminated against Flores nor the other plaintiffs. Brian Flores isn’t in this alone, since filing the lawsuit on Feb. 1, two other Black coaches have also joined the lawsuit with their stories of league discrimination as well.
The NFL said it looked into Flores’ allegation that Ross offered him $100,000 to lose games in 2019, his first season as Dolphins’ coach. It found Ross made a number of comments to multiple people in the organization, including Flores, that the 2020 draft should take priority over winning in 2019. Flores took those comments as a suggestion from his boss to lose, but the investigation found the team never intentionally lost a game.
ESPN reports the investigation revealed the Dolphins spent two years trying to recruit Brady — first from the New Englad Patriots and later from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — to join the franchise. Much of the discussions focused on becoming a limited partner, a team executive and even its quarterback. Per the NFL’s anti-tampering policy, “no club, nor any person employed by or otherwise affiliated with a club, is permitted to tamper with a player who is under contract to or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by another club.”
In addition, the investigation found the Dolphins spoke to Payton’s agent in January 2022, before Payton had resigned as the Saints’ coach. Even after Payton announced his departure on Jan. 25, the Dolphins would have needed permission from the Saints to talk to him.
The Dolphins forfeited one of their two 2023 first-round picks, as well as a third-round pick in 2024. Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended until Oct. 17, 2022.
Ross has also been removed from all of his current committee assignments, which included the finance, media, international and legalized sports gambling committees.
Dolphins limited partner Bruce Beal, who was found to have conducted many of the discussions with Brady and his agent, was fined $500,000 and is prohibited from attending any league meetings through the end of the 2022 season.
Brian Flores’ lawsuit, which alleged violations of federal and state civil/human rights statutes that are intended to ensure equal rights, remains in the court system. The NFL filed a motion in June to move the lawsuit to its in-house arbitration process, but a ruling isn’t expected before late summer at the earliest.
Information for this article was obtained via ESPN.