NFL Puts The Hammer Down On Miami Dolphins For Violating Tampering Rules With Tom Brady, Sean Payton

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Samuel Nathan Contributor
Font Size:

The National Football League (NFL) is sanctioning the Miami Dolphins after an investigation found violations of league rules against tampering with players or coaches on other teams.

The NFL is stripping the Dolphins of their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick, ESPN reported Tuesday. Team owner Stephen Ross was also fined $1.5 million by the NFL and suspended from any team or league functions through Oct. 17, according to the outlet.

The NFL said its six-month investigation found Miami had conversations violating the policy with superstar quarterback Tom Brady between 2019 and 2022, during which time he played for the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ESPN reported. The NFL also said Miami violated the policy in connection to then-New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. In the instances, the league claims Miami tried to recruit Brady and Payton to join the Dolphins, according to ESPN.

“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, according to ESPN. “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.” (RELATED: REPORT: Steve Wilks And Ray Horton Join Brian Flores’ Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against The NFL)

Miami was also accused by former head coach Brian Flores of encouraging him to lose games intentionally to improve the draft position for the team. Flores alleged that Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per game the team lost. However, the league said it could not substantiate those allegations, which the team has also denied.

“The independent investigation cleared our organization on any issues relating to tanking and all of Brian Flores’ other allegations. As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest,” Ross said in response, according to ESPN.

Ross also reportedly said he “strongly disagree[d] with the conclusions and the punishment” in connection to tampering probe.

Brady is not being punished, according to ESPN.