The NFL suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and fined him $1.5 million for raiding Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
The sanction was announced following a six-month investigation that stemmed from a lawsuit brought by coach Brian Flores against the Tour for racial discrimination.
The league concluded the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season, but found that they had interdicted trades with Brady and his agent, Don Yee, among other things. The NFL announced the findings of its investigation on Tuesday.
The Dolphins also lost their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick.
Ross is suspended until October 17. He may not visit team facilities or represent the team at any team or league activities. He is also banned from all NFL meetings until the 2023 annual assembly and is removed from all circuit committees until further notice.
The investigation concluded that the Dolphins violated the league’s policy against raiding on three occasions. The Dolphins allegedly had illegal contact with Brady possibly as early as August 2019 and through the 2020 playoffs, when he was under contract with the New England Patriots.
Dolphins vice-president and minority partner Bruce Beal has been fined $500,000 and will be barred from NFL meetings until the end of the year.
The Dolphins then reportedly spoke with Brady and his agent in December 2021 and after the campaign, while he was still under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
These discussions would have concerned the possibility of Brady buying shares of the team and becoming a member of management. The possibility that he also plays for the Dolphins was also reportedly discussed. The league claimed that Ross and Beal participated in those discussions.
The third incident involves Payton. The Dolphins reportedly spoke with Yee in January regarding the possible hiring of Payton as head coach. The Dolphins hadn’t asked the New Orleans Saints for permission to talk about the topic, and talks took place before Payton announced he was retiring.