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NFL fines Miami Dolphins for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton

Go directly to the main content. Miami Beach, Florida Coconut Grove-Coral Gables, FL Pinecrest, Florida F. Palmetto Bay-Cutler LAventura, Florida Boca Raton, Florida West Palm Beach, Florida Fort Myers, Florida Sarasota, Florida Bradenton, Florida Florida Top National Stories Browse All Communities MIAMI, FLORIDA — The NFL fined and suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, as well as docked the team two draft picks, following a six-month investigation into allegations in a lawsuit filed by former coach Brian Flores, the league announced Tuesday. The NFL determined that the team violated league tampering rules by speaking with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton between 2019 and 2022. The Dolphins will forfeit a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024, and Ross will be suspended until Oct. 17 and fined $1.5 million. Patch provides free, real-time updates on what’s going on in Miami. Ross’ suspension will last until Week 6, and he will be able to attend the Dolphins’ Oct. 23 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will be barred from team facilities and all league events until the suspension is lifted, and he will be barred from attending any league meetings until the 2023 Annual Meeting. He has also been removed indefinitely from all league committees. In a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against the Dolphins and the NFL in February, Flores accused the team and the league of pressuring him to violate NFL tampering rules and intentionally lose games. Patch provides free, real-time updates on what’s going on in Miami. The Dolphins had improper contact with Brady during and after the 2019 season, when he was under contract with the New England Patriots, through vice chairman and limited partner Bruce Beal. According to the league, Beal kept Ross and other team executives up to date on these efforts. Beginning in December 2021, near the end of his second season in Tampa Bay, both Beal and Ross were involved in illegal communications with Brady. According to the league, the talks centered on Brady becoming a limited partner and team executive, but the possibility of Brady playing for the Dolphins was discussed at some point. The league also discovered that the Saints engaged in improper communications with Payton while he was still under contract with the team in January 2022. The Dolphins did not contact the Saints to request permission to contact Payton until he announced his retirement, which New Orleans refused. Beal was fined $500,000 and barred from league meetings until the end of the 2022 season. The league did not find sufficient evidence to sanction Flores for tanking. The Dolphins did not lose games on purpose, and no one on the team instructed Flores to do so, according to the league. Flores claimed Ross offered him $100,000 for each loss, but the NFL disagreed. The Dolphins’ 2020 draft position, according to Ross, should take precedence over their 2019 win-loss record. According to the league, Flores interpreted that as a suggestion to lose games and wrote senior leadership about his concerns. According to the league, club executives assured the coach that Ross and others in the front office supported his efforts to create a winning culture. Regarding the alleged monetary offer to lose games, the NFL said there were “differing recollections on the wording, timing and context” of the comments and that any offer was not serious or pursued by Ross. Flores’ accusations, according to Ross, are “false, malicious, and defamatory.” “I strongly disagree with the conclusions and punishment for tampering,” Ross said. “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’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.” Flores said he was thankful his accusations were found true by the NFL’s investigation, he added he was disappointed “the investigator minimized Mr. Ross’s offers and pressure to tank games.” “Mr. Ross will avoid any meaningful consequence,” Flores said. “There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football itself than the integrity of the game.” Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts. The rules of replying: Be respectful. This is a space for friendly local discussions. No racist, discriminatory, vulgar or threatening language will be tolerated. Be transparent. Use your real name, and back up your claims. Keep it local and relevant. Make sure your replies stay on topic. Review the Patch Community Guidelines.