Stephen Ross fires back at “false, malicious and defamatory” allegations made by Brian Flores

NFL: SEP 23 Raiders at Dolphins
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As the contention that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered former Dolphins coach Brian Flores $100,000 for each game lost in 2019 continues to gather momentum — and as their potential implications continue to become more clear — Ross has fired back.

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, Ross attacks the allegations as “false, malicious and defamatory.”

“I am a man or honor and integrity and cannot let [the allegations] stand without responding,” Ross said. “I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome that investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.”

The statement from Ross does not address the fact that NFL Network — a media outlet Ross partially owned — reported on Wednesday that an unnamed witness corroborated Flores’s claim of money-for-losing. If Ross believes Flores’s allegations are false, malicious, and defamatory, he necessarily believes that NFL Network published the false, malicious, and defamatory account from an unnamed person who contends to have heard Ross make the offer to Flores.

The strong language of the statement suggests that Ross could also take legal action against Flores, alleging defamation of character. Because Ross is a public figure, the standard for proving defamation necessarily will be higher, requiring proof of actual malice. More immediately, the statements made by Flores possibly will prompt Ross to stop making ongoing salary payments to Flores under the terms of his contract, given that coaching agreements typically contain language prohibiting the coach from making disparaging statements about the team, its owner, etc. For this reason, coaches who have an axe to grind routinely wait until their buyout has been fully paid before saying anything at all, publicly or privately, about their former employers.

Regardless, the statement underscores the fact that the NFL and the Dolphins intend to fight back aggressively against the man who, as of 24 days ago, had finished the 2021 season by winning eight of nine games. It will be contentious, it will be protracted, and it will involve not only allegations of racial bias but also an incredibly high-stakes (for Ross) question of whether he indeed made that offer.

95 responses to “Stephen Ross fires back at “false, malicious and defamatory” allegations made by Brian Flores

  1. If the claims are baseless then he could sue for defamation, sure, but that coach’s career is already cooked.

  2. Come on – i love this Flores must be right slant

    the guy had a revolving door of coaches – nobody liked him because of his attitude and terrible lack of leadership

    this bs all comes after his realization he was destined to be an assistant here on out

  3. I actually believe Flores on this. If it’s true Ross is toast both with his franchise and legally

  4. I see Flores striking a win for African American coaches in the NFL but losing everything with his accusation that Ross tried to pay him to lose.
    Ross didn’t have to pay him to lose,all he had to do was trade away more players by asking Grier to get it done. He had till mid season to keep trading. Flores better have evidence!

  5. Presuming the jury were to find Flores and his witness credible, I guess Ross would then owe Flores the rest of his contract, with interest?

  6. Brian Flores was never even a Coordinator. Somehow became a HC… when his ego clouded his judgement, he lost the support of the organization that elevated him beyond his resume.. how dare he go back to being a LB coach.

    Now he can coach his kids pee wee team.

  7. NFL stuff is hitting the fan – multiple fans. This scandal could take down the shield – or more likely result in the NFL having to radically change how it does business. People are talking about how Flores just said what was in plain sight for decades. But those same people are also talking about the how & why of the NFL’s anti-trust exemptions. That’s stuff that could be stuff hitting a fan. And then there are the scandals with the DC football team that are coming to a head – piles of stuff hitting the fan.

    What blows my mind are the number of people who think that as long as their team has a shot at winning, they don’t mind if these old white billionaires don’t abide by laws.

    Right now their fear is that dude named Flores. The dude abides.

  8. There is zero reason for Flores to make this up. He’s risking everything. Maybe Flores will lose, but why would I ever place a bet on the NFL again. Lots of other ways to wager money on sports that actually has integrity.

  9. Weird to see allegations against dolphins who gave him and Grier a chance to start with? Titans fired their coach who made the playoffs to hire Vrabel, so even finishing with 8 wins at the end against losing teams isn’t enough for Ross to want you to lead in the future. Flores still got paid regardless and the reason he wasn’t getting any other offers was probably because of the feedback from everyone in Miami who had beef with him.

  10. Ross already tampered with the Vikings by paying Harbaugh to stay at Michigan. $100k/game to lose in Michigan.

  11. I saw one outlet saying that Grier was present during the conversation. If it`s one person`s word against another I`m not sure they can take someone`s team away… no matter how much fans hope they will.

  12. Oh I think mr Flores bank account might hold some proof. Good for coach Flo . I’m rooting for you!

  13. Well, it’s hard to prove something that’s not in writing but I have no doubt that he said it. Otherwise why would you fire the best coach the team has had in decades.

  14. If he made the offer; than Ross paid it out. Check the bank statements from 3 years ago and see any difference in pay not listed in the contract. If he cant do that he will need it in writing because he said she said wont cut it. Eye witnesses are bs.

  15. Mr Ross you gambled and got caught now it’s time to sell the team. Have other owners done the same, most likely. The difference here is you fired the coach for not going along with it and he decided to risk his career to expose you.

  16. That statement was obviously prepared by his lawyer. Nowhere did he specifically deny asking the coach to lose games.

  17. Florio, Esq. – Assuming the money for tanking allegation was not made outside the actual pleadings, wouldn’t this prevent a defamation lawsuit by Ross under the litigation privilege?

  18. Ross is very wealthy. That proves that he he is trustworthy and has very pleasant-smelling breath.

  19. Yeah ok Ross. That’s what they all say. When frauds are exposed, they go on the attack

  20. Flores better hand some considerable proof if these accusations as he’s already kissed his coaching career goodbye.

  21. It’s a shame you will get radio/tv that will give this maybe a 2 minute segment. But it is sad that we are now in a society that will crucify someone who has accusations made against them. Every show I heard or seen the last day has made up their minds that Ross and Miami are guilty. Remember, Grier can shed a ton of light on this being he is a minority GM.

  22. Flores must have really wanted revenge. I think everything else in the suit is largely window dressing. His real target is Ross.

  23. Flores’s lawsuit as a whole was poorly constructed and with no clearly defined end goal in mind. The “portion” of the lawsuit against Ross is the strongest part of the suit.
    NFL is a private company and run by 32 owners. These owners act like the Real House Wife of West Palm Beach. They will never miss a chance to take down “one of them”, for example Jones vs Kraft. At least 10 of them, including dum*a*s Ross, are building a online betting business. They will protect ” the integrity of the game” and punish Ross, and by extension, weaken/destroy Ross online betting business.

  24. Legally, not a good lawsuit. Not a great chance of recovery. But this isn’t about the law—this is a PR battle aimed at the NFL. You can tell by the unnecessary shots at Elway and Ross. Simply put, this lawsuit was filed to make the NFL (and certain NFL personnel) look awful. Everyone knows in 2022 the worst thing you can do is allege someone is “racist” and Flores’ team was right to anticipate this suit would be catnip for the medial and Twitter. It was well played, but he has to understand he’ll never coach in the NFL again now. Maybe college.

  25. He made the offer.

    He also wanted Watson and it’s
    likely Flores had no interest in thr drama of it, hence the firing.

    If Watson is dealt to Miami, this will make sense.

  26. One of the first things I thought when Flores’s allegations came to light was, does he have irrefutable proof that Ross offered him a “bribe”? Because if not, it certainly feels like Flores was putting himself at risk of being countersued by Ross for defamation of character. It’s a risky move for Flores on a lot of levels, but especially when it comes to levelling a claim like the $100K per game payment. I really hope he has the “receipts” to back this up, or it’s going to get uglier.

  27. Not a lawyer but his statement never said he didn’t do it. He really saying its my word against his until of course he provides proof. Wouldnt you if your dead innocent come out and say that right off dare the person to provide proof.

  28. monarch76 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 9:02 am
    I bet we find out Ross did not do this.
    Why would you bet that? Do you know these men?

  29. I hope Flores has the evidence to back up his claims because this thing is going to get real ugly real fast. There’s going to be lawsuits and countersuits flying around like snowballs at a Packers game.

  30. Why is everyone so bent on Miami firing Flores? Jim Harbaugh’s record was 59-36-1, Win % of 61.98%, Playoff Record of 7-4 and Playoff Win % 63.64%, went to a super bowl, was coach of the year in 2011, went 8-8 in his last season and was fired. Flores was 24-25 and this season was 9-8. In the 9 wins only 3 wins were against a team with a winning record (NE twice, NO). In the 9 loses we were embarrassed twice by Buffalo, Tamp Bay, and Tennessee( must win game to keep playoff chances alive) as well as loses to winless Jacksonville, and 7-10 Atlanta. 4 OC’s in 3 years, worst OL and running game in the NFL. Also in the 9 wins, 4 wins were against 4-13 teams, and 1 win was against 5-12 team. If you look at last years schedule and record we digressed significantly in our competiveness. I am happy to bring in an offensive minded head coach. Keep the defensive staff on board. Flores needed to go.

  31. Mr. Ross, PLEASE PLEASE sell the team. You are not worthy to own an NFL franchise. Your incompetence is just mind boggling.

  32. Interesting that regardless of how you feel about Flores suing the NFL for racism, 100% of people believe the Ross allegations. Says a lot about Ross…

  33. “ Ross does not address the fact that NFL Network — a media outlet Ross partially owned — reported on Wednesday that an unnamed witness corroborated Flores’s claim of money-for-losing.”

    Yes he does, because Ross unequivocally denied Brian Flores allegations, and since the unnamed “source” only claimed to corroborate Flores allegations and not being new allegations, then Ross’ denial of Flores’ allegations are a denial of the unnamed “source”.

  34. If it was such an affront to Flores’ character you’d think he would have said something in 2019….or 2020….or 2021. Had plenty of time….didn’t say boo til he was fired.

    And then when he is fired it’s because he’s black? Gimme a break.

  35. soflaken says:
    February 3, 2022 at 8:51 am

    It’s a risky move for Flores on a lot of levels, but especially when it comes to levelling a claim like the $100K per game payment. I really hope he has the “receipts” to back this up, or it’s going to get uglier.

    If he paid by check or added it as a year end bonus, it is easy to prove. But if he paid $200,000 in cash and Flores did not report it to the IRS, that’s Tax evasion, and Flores can go to jail

  36. The Dolphins had some really good players, but they either failed to re-sign them (Frank Gore, Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn) or traded them away (Laremy Tunsil, Minkah Fitzpatrick). They brought in Flores to be their head coach when he’d never been a head coach before. Is there any doubt that Ross fully instructed and/or had GM Chris Grier in on these tanking moves? Given how obvious it was that Ross was engineering a tank job, I wouldn’t be in the least surprised that he wanted to seal the deal by getting Flores to tank games. And I bet Grier knew about it. He may not be the second source that NFL Network reported, but if he isn’t, you know he’s going to be deposed under oath as part of this lawsuit.

    Ross is making threats to try to shut this whole thing down. But it’s too late. This isn’t going away.

    made no effort to sign or draft a quality QB, let former Pro Bowlers Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, and Frank Gore walk in free agency (and lost a fourth, Josh Sitton, to retirement), and made no noteworthy offseason signings. They changed coaches, bringing in longtime Patriots assistant Brian Flores, who had never previously worked as a coordinator. The disassembly has continued into the season. Since training camp began, Miami has traded away two of its three best players, Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, for future first-round draft picks

  37. Flores’s accusation of 100k payoff to lose games happened 2 years ago he says and how his integrity caused him to bring this lawsuit. Did he need 2 full years for this integrity to develop or did he have an option to quit? Did he not have integrity then? This feels more like Flores being bitter after being let go. Now, Flores is doing everything he can to destroy Ross’s life. Ross now is fighting back to defend himself and should do the same to Flores.

  38. Where was Flores when this happened he said nothing to the league ,press no where was this to be heard. So another example what he says everyone in sports media believes. Mayme some of the coaches that did not get an interview or did not get the job should job do the same cry foul.

  39. I have a problem with “unnamed witnesses” or sources, what’s this person’s relationship to the accuser, is this person close to the accuser, does this person have a grudge against the accused, etc. In this country there is jurisprudence and due process, however in the current social and political climates that isn’t always the case, all that needs to be done is accuse someone of something and they’re automatically presumed guilty.

  40. In today’s Miami Herald, Douglas Wigdon – one of the attorneys representing Mr. Flores – is quoted as telling CNN, “We’re going to prove that if this case continues to go. There’s going to be corroborating evidence, there’s going to be other witnesses, there’s going to be emails and texts. We’re confident in that allegation. As Brian said, you don’t just make that up.”

    If Mr. Ross put anything like this in writing, it would be something. Also, if I were Mr. Flores’ attorney, I wouldn’t bluff about having evidence like this. Wow.

  41. Flores said he didn’t take the $ so there is no receipt. It will be he said/he said unless the anonymous witness comes forward

  42. So a coach who lost 7 games in a row that did not make the playoffs who also has failed to develop their number 1 pick QB got fired that happens every year in the NFL, it looks a lot more like a disgruntled employee, his people and some lawyers trying to get even/money because he is done coaching football, pro or college, in the US and Canada, maybe still has a chance in the Mexican league.

    If Ross was stupid enough to have anything in email/text/writing he deserves to lose the team, because tanking happens in every sport and every year.

  43. Hey Dolphins fans, remember thinking, “oh, cool. There’s no way this Ross guy could possibly be a worse, more incompetent or pathetic owner than Huizenga.”

  44. Ross has essentially destroyed the Dolphins, except for the stadium work. Hopefully this suit will result in Ross selling the team.

  45. I wonder if Flores had taken the 100k and agreed to skip the game and go on vacation as Flores said was offered, if anybody would have figured out that the team was tanking? I think Ross is an idiot for trying to have his team play without a coach. This would have been ugly. I trust that is really what happened because Flores said he is a man of truth.

  46. bullcharger says:
    February 3, 2022 at 1:34 am
    There is zero reason for Flores to make this up. He’s risking everything. Maybe Flores will lose, but why would I ever place a bet on the NFL again. Lots of other ways to wager money on sports that actually has integrity


    The sports books adjust for the teams that are tanking. The casinos do there research.

  47. when one jabs with the left, “deny, deny, deny”….
    watch our for the cross from the right, “lie, lie, lie”

  48. He doesnt have a choice to deny it. If Flores has evidence both he and Roger will be in trouble with the Feds.

  49. Good for Ross. It’s not like he fired Vince Lombardi. Yes, Flores won 8 of his last 9, but that barely got them above .500. Who was coaching the team to the 1-7 start and dug the hole so deep even a 8-1 finish couldn’t get them to the playoffs? That’s right – Flores. In fact, he had two separate 7-game losing streaks in his 3 seasons. Not exactly the stuff of legends.

  50. Not sure about Ross’ credibility. But if Flores accepted the money and kept coaching, then neither has any at all….

  51. It’s amazing how many @$$ hats are worried about Flores career. The guy is a good coach with integrity. The FIRST thing he stated was he KNOWS this could be the end of his coaching career. It’s NOT about money for him, it’s about the total hypocrisy of the NFL. GO FLO!!! Bout time there’s more then lip service in the NFL. Actions speak louder then words.

  52. Wouldn’t it be nice …if the owners were held to the same contractual moral n otherwise standards of the players and coaches .. but guess which side makes the rules abiding them of all responsibility and looking like total tools… thus tap on the wrist fan n lose of fourth round draft pick.

  53. mysterytonite says:
    February 3, 2022 at 8:09 am
    Flores better hand some considerable proof if these accusations as he’s already kissed his coaching career goodbye.


    The first thing Flores said in his interviews is that he knows he is risking his coaching career. Whether his claim is successful or not, that is the case.

    Since he knows that, I don’t see any particular reason for him to make up part of the claim. Since he said he did not accept the money or accept the idea of intentionally losing games, there won’t be a paper trail. The only proof will be this third source that heard Ross say it. I think it’s going to be hard to concretely prove, but in a lawsuit it’s whether it’s more likely than not, so there’s a good chance the claim will be successful if there’s another witness.

  54. redeemerac says:
    February 3, 2022 at 7:19 am

    He’s lying.


    Someone is lying … let’s hope discovery will find out which one. And even if Flores is lying, there still are systemic issues exiting in the NFL.

  55. I hear all the politicly correct owners and coaches that are saying nice things about Flores but none that worked under him. Also, none have offer him to join their staff. What I do remember hearing from Flores the day he was let go was how grateful he was to Ross for not only giving him his 1st HC job in the NFL but for everything he did for him and his family during his time as HC. Those were his words.

  56. Unnamed Source huh? How I hate those two words. If what you’re saying is true, at least have the courage to put your name to it. Unnamed source can say whatever they like about each and every one of us.

  57. Flores got to be an NFL head coach for 3 years. Will get paid for doing nothing the next 2 years. And he feels the Dolphins did him dirty. That’s today’s gratitude. I’d make him sue for those last two years pay. I would have done that job just for the tanking bonus alone.

  58. That’s funny, when I think of Stephen Ross, the first three words that come to mind are “false, malicious and defamatory!”

  59. Lifelong Dolphins fan here… Flores was a good Coach, but not great. He literally had the same record as the 3 years before him. So, mediocrity is a reason to Fire someone. I think Flores is mad he didn’t get the Giants job and is shocked he was fired. He is looking for revenge and playing the Race Card guarantees him unemployable. The Bribe is total BS! It won’t be proven and if it were true and Ross was able to get #1 Pick Burrow, it would be worth more to him than $200K-400K. Besides he had Grier in his pocket to Trade away players. Why were other Asst. Coaches and players not in on it? Look, I HATE Ross and can only hope that if he did do this that somehow we can get a new Owner. However, billionaires are not stupid… I doubt he left behind texts and emails. I just konw it suck to be a Fins Fan. This whole dram wil not attract a decent Head Coach, Staff and Veteran QB. Looks like another 6 year setback.

  60. If an owner tells his GM and coach to “build for the future”…and then gives them contract extensions….is that paying for losses ?

    Yes or No ?

  61. Unnamed source in this case means I’m shopping to see how much you will pay me to say anything you want in court to become your named source. Flores’s lawyers are working on this now. You know that integrity thing we’ve been hearing about. It’s everywhere.

  62. Hmmm.. wealthy old white guys who lie. Think that rules don’t apply to them. Who think they can buy loyalty or compliance. Wow. That’s a new concept! Oh, wait. No it isn’t. The problem is their is no oversight, no accountability for these guys. Money+Power= PROBLEMS!!

  63. I believe Flores. He knew that this would destroy his career, but he did the right thing anyway.

    Most people would keep their mouth shut, go onwith their lives, and allow the corruptionto continue.

  64. bullcharger says:
    February 3, 2022 at 1:34 am

    There is zero reason for Flores to make this up. He’s risking everything.


    If it’s a choice between not being hired by anyone, and no certainty of future employment, and a potential big settlement in a legal case, then the risk is maybe not quite that simple.

  65. What reason does Flores have to make this up (comment just above)? Flores believes he’s entitled. He’s exhibiting one of the negative side effects of affirmative action policies. Mr. Flores now also has an arguably long history of exhibiting a short and malicious temper when he doesn’t get his way (indirectly entitlement, the more direct being he’s simply a quick-tempered and malicious personality).
    If Mr. Flores felt so strongly about these issues (saying it was more important that his coaching future), why not bring up the Denver issue 3 yrs ago. Why not bring up the Ross allegations when they happened (again, his words, integrity more important to him than coaching) and how did this lawsuit get filed so quickly, one day, after Dabol was announced? This was premeditated. The sense of entitlement and not getting his way had been burning for a while in Mr. Flores.

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