The Stephen Ross investigation continues; when will it conclude?

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The bad thing about a Roger Goodell press conference is that no single topic receives thorough treatment. The good news is that plenty of topics receive at least a cursory mention.

During his recent meeting with reporters after the conclusion of league meetings in Atlanta, Goodell was asked for an update regarding the investigation sparked by allegations from former Dolphins coach Brian Flores that team owner Stephen Ross offered to pay $100,000 per loss in 2019.

“There is not any update on that,” Goodell said. He added that Mary Jo White — the supposed “independent” lawyer who currently is handling multiple “independent” investigations for the league — continues to look into the situation.

How hard can it be? How much time can it take? Ross made the offer, or he didn’t.

Flores claims he did. Although speaking directly to Flores raises potential complications given that his lawsuit contends, among other things, that his firing was motivated by his resistance to this request and efforts to blow the whistle on it, White has indeed (we’re told) interviewed Flores. He cooperated fully with the investigation in April.

From there, White can pursue any leads the Flores may have identified — specifically, other witnesses to the offer. Back in February, the league-owned media conglomerate reported that an unnamed witness did indeed corroborate the claim Flores had made. Likewise, emails, text messages, and other relevant documents from the time period in question can be gathered and reviewed. Eventually, Ross and other key members of Dolphins management would be interviewed.

It really shouldn’t take very long to do all of it. Unless Mary Jo White is so occupied with other NFL work that she doesn’t have time to get it done.

We’ve been saying for years as it relates to White and other supposedly “independent” investigators that there’s no true independence. The lifeblood of large corporate law firms (years ago, I worked for one in Pittsburgh) is what they call “cost-insensitive clients.” These firms want to be hired and hired and hired again to work on significant projects that will entail minimal scrutiny of the massive monthly invoices generated. The notoriety of  projects like these also will get the lawyer’s name mentioned in various media platforms, which will help the lawyer and her firm more work from other cost-insensitive clients.

The point is that, in order to continue to get these assignments, the lawyer has to be sufficiently savvy to understand what the client wants, and to gently nudge the findings that way.

Most contested issues have multiple plausible outcomes. This one obviously does. It’s a binary choice; Ross did it, or he didn’t.

Although some think the league won’t hesitate to find Ross guilty of making a specific offer of cash for losing games, the broader context could make such a finding unwise. From the Flores lawsuit to the potential impact of such a declaration on the external scrutiny the NFL currently is experiencing to potential criminals liability under the Sports Betting Act to possibility of a class-action lawsuit against the league on behalf of anyone who placed bets on the Dolphins in 2019 to the league’s stubborn and unrealistic insistence that no team ever tanks, chances are that the NFL just wants this one to go away quietly.

If so, chances are that the “independent” lawyer the NFL has hired to investigate will find a way to do just that. Eventually. And inevitably.

21 responses to “The Stephen Ross investigation continues; when will it conclude?

  1. Mr. Ross team will sell the team when the Miami Dolphins win another Super Bowl ring. Until then his lawyers will continue to slow walk this investigation, which means that it could be the longest investigation in the history of planet Earth

  2. Wow, not looking good in nfl land huh, they may have to force the sale of 2 teams, all the other old wg owners should be scared and start buying their skeletons deeper. If they force the sale of Miami and Washington who would be next and on the other hand who would want to but them for these crazy prices if you can be forced to sell at any time for any alleged reason???

  3. Either Flores has the evidence or he doesn’t. He has chosen not to make it public if he has. The rumor that one witness overheard the offer is still not something that has been publicly substantiated yet. We don’t know who they are and what exactly they witnessed. Was it an in person offer, an email, etc… We still don’t know but one of the two is a liar. If I’m Flores and the NFL investigation goes nowhere, then I would release it to social media.

  4. If Flores contention that he got fired because he didn’t go along with losing games, that is ludicrous. If that was the case, then Flores wld have been fired after 2019 and not continued on for 2 more seasons. Here is what I believe happened. Ross told Flores that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they lost in 2019. I don’t think Ross offered him 100K per loss. This is all sour grapes with Flores. He was angry he got fired and didn’t get the Giants job, so he decided to go scorched earth. People’s ears perk up when they hear racism or gambling allegations. Flores got fired for never hiring a competent offensive staff. He got fired for communication issues with his coaches and players. He got fired for going 1-7 to start the season which torpedoed the season before the midway point. This was his third straight season having a bad start and last season there were high expectations. He got fired for not being on the same page as the GM. Those are the reasons he got fired and not because he didn’t lose games.

  5. I think it speaks volumes that Flores’s former players on the Dolphins never came out in support of their former head coach. However, we have seen numerous players come out since he was terminated and stated how refreshing it’s been to have a coach like McDaniels at the helm.

    Either way this suit does not look good on Flores. If he was given that “deal” to tank and he didn’t quit his job right then and there he’s not as righteous as he’s attempting to make himself look. He waited until AFTER he was fired to bring up these accusations because he knew he wouldn’t land another HC opportunity.

    His actions will make it difficult for him moving forward to ever get another shot of being a HC. It’s quite obvious Flores was terminated because he was causing problems with Chris Grier, the players, and the owner. His ego won’t allow him to accept responsibility for the situation he created.

    I’m glad Flores is no longer part of the Miami Dolphins organization and I think it’s safe to assume the players and the higher ups within the organization would agree.

  6. This isn’t the government, it’s a business. They can do whatever they want.

  7. Stop pretending as if you don’t know what’s going on. Every time the league has drama it’s pushed under the rug until the next bit of drama pops up. Then the league does nothing because the attention spans have shifted. Rinse and repeat. This is not a new strategy. This is same ol same ol from the league you cover daily. Play dumb all you want, but you know this is how they roll.

  8. Goodell works for the owners. He needs to find out what they want.
    Its one thing if Snyder gets forced out assuming there is evidence, but quite another for this, where its one persons word against another.

  9. The majority of NFL owners are not going to remove Stephen Ross. Ross owns more than $60 billion dollars in real estate development around the world and in the United States. IN my opinion he will continue to own the Miami Dolphins!

  10. I don’t think the NFL will make anybody sell any teams you don’t want to flood the market with teams. If they force the sale of two teams in one year that’ll be too many teams up for sale which is not good because you won’t be able to get as much money for them simple economics the whole thing is economics

  11. Your post should be called the Brian Flores investigation. Flores is the one lying and manipulating. He should be banned from the league and the Steelers should lose a first round pick for hiring him.

  12. I think the only really way you can find him guilty, is if there was an actual payment to Flores. If there is a paper trail then that’s evidence, other wise its just he said she said.

  13. Tanking for a #1 pick could set a franchise up for 15 years with the right QB. Nothing short of three #1 picks and a $5 million dollar fine will deter this from happening again.

  14. Flores was sacked because he couldn’t develop an offense or get anyone to come to Miami to run one. Every year a different coordinator. Not one player has stood up for him. He’s a good coach but the Bellichick method only works for Bill Bellichick.

  15. Along with the owners of the Jets and Redskins, the Dolphins are the poster boys for incompetent owners. I’m sure Dolphins fans would be happy to tell Ross not to let the door hit his behind on the way out!

  16. It will conclude at about 7:37 PM Eastern, on the fri before fourth of July. Like all NFL investigations where they dont want to find anything.

  17. 305Phinfan mentioned what I was intending to mention when I came to the comments. There has not been any Dolphins players who have come out in defense of Flores. That is weird to me. Perhaps they have been told to not mention it for legal reasons (because of the investigations)? Or maybe its because they are all thrilled he is gone? Either way, its unusual for a coach to leave a team and not one single player comes out and says anything positive about him, didnt have anyone wishing him luck at his next coaching stop, etc. Even before his allegations came out, he seemingly had zero support in the locker room. That says something. Why didnt Ross just sign Hue Jackson if his goal was to lose games?

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