Stephen Ross issues curious, flawed statement regarding Tuesday’s findings

Miami Dolphins v Las Vegas Raiders
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On Tuesday, the NFL properly suspended Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for tampering but chose not to take action against him for tanking.

As one league source poetically described the reaction, “Ross is going apeshit.”

Ross also has issued a statement that, frankly, contains some fairly clear flaws. His words appear below.

“The independent investigation cleared our organization on any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores other allegations,” Ross said. “As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest. With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment. However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I will not allow anything to get in the way of that.”

The fact that he wanted Sean Payton and Tom Brady over Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa, respectively, necessarily gets in the way of any excitement for the Plan B options that Ross ended up with. More importantly, Ross is pushing alternative facts in other portions of the statement.

First, the investigation did not clear Ross and the team on the other allegations made by Brian Flores; he claimed that he was recruited to participate in efforts to tamper with an unnamed quarterback, which was widely known to be Brady. The tampering fine legitimizes the claim made by Flores.

Second, Ross and the organization were hardly “cleared” on the tanking issue. The investigation found that Ross, on a number of occasions during the 2019 season, “expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team’s win-loss record,” and that comments of this type “were made most frequently to Team President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, but were also made to General Manager Chris Grier, Senior Vice President Brandon Shore and Coach Flores.”

“An owner or senior executive must understand the weight that his or her words carry, and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intent or expectation,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Tuesday statement. “Even if made in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that draft position is more important than winning can be misunderstood and carry with them an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game.”

It’s sort of amazing that the league didn’t find Ross guilty of attempted tanking, or something along those lines. That’s clearly what he was doing. And by resisting the desires of the oligarch who owns the team, Flores saved the ass of his boss while also signing his own eventual termination slip.

But the NFL couldn’t afford to punish Ross for tanking, because the NFL is still defending the wrongful discharge claim brought by Flores against the Dolphins, along with other claims against the Dolphins and other teams. (Also, in an age of legalized wagering, any suggestion of an effort to not win games would trigger legislative, administrative, and/or judicial scrutiny.) So the league, while acknowledging that Ross engaged in behavior that should have resulted in punishment, simply decided not to punish him, at least not for tanking.

It’s fair to wonder whether he was punished for tampering simply because the league felt compelled to punish him for something.

Regardless, on a day that Ross is supposedly going apeshit, we’ll choose to regard the self-serving contents of his statement as bullshit.

58 responses to “Stephen Ross issues curious, flawed statement regarding Tuesday’s findings

  1. Suspend Ross for 6 games and be done with it! I’m sure that the NFLPA will not challenge this.

  2. If the NFL were smart, they’d get these old money owners out of the league before they destroy it.

  3. Why isn’t Cheatin’ Tom Brady in trouble for tampering himself? Not once but based on these reports..twice

    Players can’t shop themselves to other teams while under contract.

  4. “The Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season,” the league found. “Nor did anyone at the club, including Mr. Ross, instruct Coach Flores to do so. No witness contended otherwise.”

  5. If the Robinson recommendation on Watson is usurped by an appeal by the league (to the league) than Ross should be FORCED to relinquish the Dolphins as he clearly affected the leagues integrity by suggesting the TANKING of games.

  6. If there is no punishment for the Texans enabling Watson then there should be no punishment for Ross.

  7. Despite all you folks calling Flores a liar a lot of what he said seems to be passing the smell test. And everything he alleged was under oath with the pains and penalties of perjury.

  8. NFL looks bad when you deal with sexual assaults takes month’s and breaking a rule penalty now.

  9. What’s also true is the FACT the report made no mention of Mr.Ross offering any financial incentive to lose. The report found that he made statements to the fact of whether or not it would be better to simply play for the best draft pick (lose), but it doesn’t say anywhere in that report that someone other than Brian Flores heard Stephen Ross offer money to lose. So basically we’re right back to square one, and that is Brian Flores says he was offered money to lose by an owner who wanted the best draft pick he could get, but nobody can attest to that other than Brian Flores

  10. Very simply, Goodell has provided cover for Ross at Flores’s expense with the ancillary goal of invalidating Flores’ charges thereby shielding the league from excessive financial damages. Well done Roger! Never let truth interfere with net revenue. Why the coaches don’t consider unionizing is baffling, especially since this coach’s (Flores) future is at the mercy of a league arbitrator bought and paid for by Herr Goodell.

  11. How long before the NFL totally implodes on itself? Can’t happen soon enough it seems.

  12. nosurrender says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:37 pm
    What’s also true is the FACT the report made no mention of Mr.Ross offering any financial incentive to lose. The report found that he made statements to the fact of whether or not it would be better to simply play for the best draft pick (lose), but it doesn’t say anywhere in that report that someone other than Brian Flores heard Stephen Ross offer money to lose. So basically we’re right back to square one, and that is Brian Flores says he was offered money to lose by an owner who wanted the best draft pick he could get, but nobody can attest to that other than Brian Flores
    ———————-

    Tell me one allegation Flores made that has been disproved? And all of his allegations were made in a court filing under the pains and penalties of perjury.

  13. Sorry, but some seasons aren’t about winning the Super Bowl. Do you think the Bears are going all out to win every game this year? No, they’re trying to build for the future because they have no chance of winning the Super Bowl or even getting a wildcard berth. Does that mean they’re “tanking”? If they play a rookie more than a veteran to get him experience and the reason is because winning as many games as possible isn’t as important as getting the best players possible for future years, is that the definition of “tanking”? When good team management is determined to be illegal, this league is done.

  14. I didn’t have an issue with the Dolphins tanking since it happens across sports. As long as Ross isn’t telling the coach to lose by a specific amount of points whatever. I’m sure tampering is a widespread problem, but when you are caught red handed, you have to be punished.

  15. Goodell is a disgrace for the ages. He cheats the Pats with fake charges that were proven to be fake after Goodell got caught lying, and then when a real violation occurs that is actually tied to real integrity of the game, he goes light on a team in the AFC again.

  16. mikefloreo says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:17 pm
    If the NFL were smart, they’d get these old money owners out of the league before they destroy it.

    ———-

    They are the league. Goodell works for them, not the other way around.

  17. nosurrender says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:37 pm
    What’s also true is the FACT the report made no mention of Mr.Ross offering any financial incentive to lose. The report found that he made statements to the fact of whether or not it would be better to simply play for the best draft pick (lose), but it doesn’t say anywhere in that report that someone other than Brian Flores heard Stephen Ross offer money to lose. So basically we’re right back to square one, and that is Brian Flores says he was offered money to lose by an owner who wanted the best draft pick he could get, but nobody can attest to that other than Brian Flores

    ——–

    It does say he offered money to lose. It says it wasn’t intended as a serious offer, and that’s why there was no punishment.

  18. GoodellMustGo says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:18 pm
    Why isn’t Cheatin’ Tom Brady in trouble for tampering himself? Not once but based on these reports..twice

    Players can’t shop themselves to other teams while under contract.

    ———-

    They actually can. The team isn’t allowed to engage. This happens all the time with players recruiting other players.

  19. footballpat says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:32 pm
    Despite all you folks calling Flores a liar a lot of what he said seems to be passing the smell test. And everything he alleged was under oath with the pains and penalties of perjury.

    —————-

    100%. Every single thing Flores said has been proven true. The NFL chose to say that because Flores didn’t listen to the noise and kept on winning, there was no actual violation. They also chose to say that what ever offer was made and what ever discussion there was pertaining to prioritizing the draft over winning, it was not serious.

    All that is interpretation on what was meant by Ross, but it definitely all happened. Flores is going to be able to say it was proven he wasn’t lying. He can also say that if the owner talks, people are expected to do what he says and Flores put his job at risk by winning. Whether it was a serious offer to Flores or not, that’s still all true.

  20. The franchise has been a complete disaster under his ownership, he’s so desperate to win however has no clue on how too.
    Its one embarrassment after another going back to 2009.

  21. As far as Roger is concerned there was no tanking. Here is the rest of his statement.

    “The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to win and the Dolphins competed to win every game. Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of draft position to affect his commitment to win throughout the season.”

  22. You are conveniently leaving out statements from the NFL’s report that completely contradict your conclusion here regarding the “tanking”…

    “The Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season,” the league found. “Nor did anyone at the club, including Mr. Ross, instruct Coach Flores to do so. No witness contended otherwise.”

    Flores expressed “his concerns in writing to senior club executives, each of whom assured Coach Flores that everyone, including Mr. Ross, supported him in building a winning culture in Miami. After this, Mr. Ross no longer made any such comments to Coach Flores.”

  23. Does everyone forget that the NFL is a bunch of individual businesses competing against each other to make money? They, as a group, hire a person, Goodell, to make sure they all play by the rules, they created. “Tanking” isn’t against the rules, again that they created. This is all about entertainment and making money. If “your” team tanks this year so they can win the Superbowl in 2 yrs then that’s entertaining.

    The whole gambling thing is the same as people buying crypto from companies that made it out of thin air!

  24. The rightful punishment was to force Ross to sell the team. Anyone with half a brain can figure out what the NFL is doing here.

  25. Other articles indicate that Flores reported the tanking comments (“I wrote and submitted a letter at the time to Dolphins executives documenting my serious concerns regarding this subject at the time, which the investigator has in her possession.” PFT. Posted at 1:02 PM). The NFL has taken Flores’ refusal to tank as proof that the team owner was not serious about tanking and no harm was done (other than Flores losing his job). A single suggestion could have been in jest, but the tanking comments “were made most frequently to Team President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, but were also made to General Manager Chris Grier, Senior Vice President Brandon Shore and Coach Flores.” With those words, the NFL has given Flores’ attorney a roadmap of how to prove retaliatory firing by Ross. Flores’ lawyers will depose each of those men to probe the circumstances of each of Ross’ suggestions and what happened to Flores’ report. The League statement seems intended to force Ross to sell the Dolphins. It also buttresses Flores’ credibility!

  26. On the other hand, prioritizing draft position over winning now can set your organization up for greater success later over marginal success now.

    For example, trading away large contracts for star players over 30 can lead to multiple draft wins at lower cap numbers later.

    The Cowboys basically won 3 Super Bowls in the 1990s with the Hershel Walker deal.

    It’s odd that you choose to take words to mean strictly that he ordered his team to lose on purpose. While that may be partially or wholly true, his words can also mean he wants his GM to get rid of high cap players that aren’t providing the commensurate impact on the field.

    At the end of the day he is wanting to WIN. It’s a matter of winning marginally now vs. gambling and winning BIG later.

    It’s a blurred line you’re trying to negotiate with this piece. There are plenty of examples of teams favoring the draft in more ways than one and gambling on striking gold in a shortened time window due to the cap.

  27. Sure, you can be arrested for screaming fire in a building when one doesn’t exist, but Ross can say what he wants. Miami got rid of old, expensive players, took their lumps and won 5 games. They didn’t tank. If it’s he said, she said, what are you gonna do? Now, if they fired Flores and went 0-16, sure. Maybe you have a case. But Ross kept that extremely flawed coach hired and kept him 2 MORE YEARS.

  28. What else is likely is that Yee will have his abilities as an agent revoked. If Brady received any perks while employed by the Buccaneers from the Dolphins, he may have a reckoning too.

  29. obesewantcannoli says:
    August 2, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    “At the end of the day he is wanting to WIN. It’s a matter of winning marginally now vs. gambling and winning BIG later.”
    ____________

    Do you honestly believe that Ross cares about winning?

  30. There would be no need for any tanking if the need to have an elite QB weren’t a requirement for winning Super Bowls. For years the league has added or adjusted rules to favor the offense…specifically to favor the passing offense. Their goal to make the league a high scoring, flashy, big play league has succeeded, at the expense of things like tanking for the ability to draft the next great QB.

  31. Some in this thread have claimed that tanking is getting rid of older more expensive players in lieu of younger, cheaper talent. While doing so may reduce your ability to win now, it is not tanking. In fact it is a requirement in order to function under the salary cap system.

    The true definition of tanking is when you try NOT to win, with the players you currently have on your roster. That is what Ross was advocating.

  32. I’m no fan of my team’s McCaskey owners (in football terms), but at least they’re not Stephen Ross. Yikes.

  33. The NFL found that Ross may have offered Flores $100,000 to lose games toward the end of the season, but “such a comment was not intended or taken to be a serious offer, nor was the subject pursued in any respect by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.”
    —————————-

    If it was not taken seriously why would Flores report it to several people in Dolphins management? You folks owe Flores an apology for doubting him on this. Of course the NFL won’t find it was tanking they are a party to a lawsuit on this very issue.

  34. Dissect the minutia of the statement all you want, but this whole story has been BS from the beginning. Flores was subpar and wasn’t playing the game that all employees need to play.
    Florio wrote 7 articles in 2019 about tank for tua, one cursory search, likely more.
    Tanking was the right move– Burrow and the bengals a couple plays away from SuperBowl Champs.
    Dolphins organizationally traded key starters for future draft picks days before the season.
    If anything is clear, Stephen Ross wants to win as badly as any owner in sports, stop blaming people for trying to win, if tanking is a problem, change the draft rules.

  35. The Trumpification of the NFL owners continues in full public display in the sense that I have and will take absolutely no responsibility for wot I say or do when it comes to the field of play regardless of the lower minions like coaches n players wot git in our way … just sweep it all under the rug commish boy cause well thats frankly the only reason u are there n how dare u take away draft picks n suspend us great ones … surely a new commish search n vote is coming soon no ???

  36. mikefloreo says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:17 pm
    If the NFL were smart, they’d get these old money owners out of the league before they destroy it.

    The NFL is made up of mostly of old money owners .They aint goin anywhere .

  37. Here’s a thought: the entire sports landscape in this country is changing – drastically. With college players now being openly bought, with conference realignment all over the map, and with the LIV in golf its just a matter of time before the NFL implodes or otherwise sees major changes. This mess with Deshaun and Ross and Flores is the tip of the iceberg.

  38. Oh c’mon, grow up! Like every team out there doesn’t plan for the draft based on their current roster. Analysts talk all the time about giving back ups a shot, etc. “Need to see what this guy has”. Ross said the truth out loud. What I find most interesting….not a word anywhere about the alleged racism…

  39. If you think this is bad and you want to find where the racism is wait until discovery when Flores subpoenas the phone records and emails of 32 NFL coaches, owners and NFL staff. The NFL knows there will be many more lawsuits coming out of that and will try to settle this thing in a hurry. Unfortunately for them I don’t think Flores is in this for the money he wants the truth to come out. Seems like he has a lot of integrity and so far he’s speaking truth to power.

    He said Ross tried to get him to lose – he did. He said Ross tampered with Brady – he did. Why would you think he would be lying about anything else?

  40. mikefloreo says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    If the NFL were smart, they’d get these old money owners out of the league before they destroy it.

    =====================

    And what exactly do you think the “NFL” is – a living organism with independent thought? It’s an organization comprised of a group of owners, many of whom are old money owners. You think these old money owners are going to out themselves from the league?

  41. Rusty Nale says:
    August 2, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    As one coach so aptly put it years ago,”You play to win the game!”

    ————————

    That was Herman Edwards, and he didn’t sound exactly sane when he ranting at the PC when he said that

  42. GoodellMustGo says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:18 pm
    Why isn’t Cheatin’ Tom Brady in trouble for tampering himself? Not once but based on these reports..twice

    Players can’t shop themselves to other teams while under contract.

    ———-

    If your agent isn’t doing what is takes to represent your interests, you got the wrong agent. No morals or ethic considerations. its business. Its the NFL. Fans keep coming back. They must be ok with it.

  43. The real story here is that Brian Flores once again knowingly misrepresented facts regarding claims he made against Ross and others in his discrimination case. At this point, Flores has lost all credibility and deserves to be sued by numerous NFL owners and coaches for slander.

  44. dryzzt23 says:
    August 2, 2022 at 1:15 pm
    Suspend Ross for 6 games and be done with it! I’m sure that the NFLPA will not challenge this.
    ——————————————————————————
    The NFLPA has nothing to do with representing owners or even coaches. The “P” stands for “Players.”

  45. Goodell should fine Ross again for making this statement. He should extend the extension to three seasons. Why don’t the owners step up and vote Ross out? Six games is NOTHING. What Ross did is truly conduct detrimental to the league. Owners running amok and acting in this manner will truly destroy the league. The NFL punished Dallas and Washington for breaking a nonexistent salary cap a few years ago and THIS is all Ross gets for breaking actual rules?! Ridiculous!

  46. logicalone says:
    August 2, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    The rightful punishment was to force Ross to sell the team. Anyone with half a brain can figure out what the NFL is doing here.

    The other owners should be livid that Ross did this. The only reason I can think of that they don’t vote Ross out is that they have done similar things. If that is the case then Goodell should have thrown the book at Ross. Maybe he would have if Flores’ lawsuit was not ongoing…

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