As the football world continues to break down the Deshawn Watson six-game suspension, the NFL announced disciplinary action against one of their franchise owners. The person at the heart of their investigation was Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins. So, what did Ross, one of the richest owners in all of sports get punished for, and what was the price he and his franchise had to pay?
At the end of the 2021 season, the Dolphins owner fired head coach Brian Flores. Shortly after hitting the unemployment line, Flores accused team owner Stephen Ross of offering him bonuses if the team lost more games during his tenure to increase their draft position. The “Loses for Dollars” program Ross reportedly offered took place as early as 2019, Flores first season in Miami. After their findings, the NFL reportedly told the Dolphins franchise they were guilty of “hinting” to Flores and his coaching staff that higher draft picks were more important than winning. “Hinting,” being the key word, however, since the NFL did not punish the Dolphins for doing so.
The two-part basis for the punishment doled out by the NFL this week against the Miami Dolphins can be summarized in one word, TAMPERING. It is believed by the NFL that owner Stephen Ross and members of the team’s front office reached out to Tom Brady in the summer of 2019 while he was still under contract with the New England Patriots. There was also reason to believe that the Dolphins maintained a dialogue with Brady during the entire 2019 season with Ross willing to offer his promise to make the quarterback a limited partner when he retired from the NFL.
Since the Dolphins did, at the time, get away with tampering with another team’s quarterback, Ross and his fishy friends doubled down earlier this year when they contacted Sean Peyton who was still under contract with the New Orleans Saints to be their head coach. It wasn’t until the spring that Peyton retired, but, nevertheless, the Dolphins were found guilty of tampering with a head coach.
The punishment for all this:
- A $1.5 Million fine leveled against Stephen Ross (did we mention he was a real estate billionaire).
- The loss of their 2023 first-round draft pick (which will save the team tens of millions of dollars in salary) and their 2024 third-round draft pick as well as (wait for it) suspending Stephen Ross until October 17th (yawn!).
I realize that Stephen Ross is more important to the NFL then, say Daniel Snyder, and that coming down hard with a harsh penalty against your boss can be difficult at best … but can we get their multi-billion-dollar sports leagues to up the amount of money an organization or owner can be fined for transgressions that “violating the integrity of the game.” Because if you think Ross is going to miss $1.5 million, you need to look up a place in New York City called Hudson Yards, where the cheapest condos sell for twice that amount as long as you don’t mind a third-floor view.
Honestly, has there been one disciplinary action taking by the NFL during the time Roger Goodell has been commissioner that has been close to being correct? Because I sure as hell can’t think of one. They can’t get the players who need to be exiled from the game suspended for the correct duration, and they sure can’t get some of the owners and front office personnel out of their game day boxes like the NBA did.
When it comes to Law and Order, the NFL needs to learn the right way to do it, because coming down harsh is always better than coming down too weak, since it doesn’t provide an incentive to straighten up and fly right for the rest of the league.
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Did The NFL Punish The Dolphins Owner Enough? | TooAthletic.com