If Flores didn’t coach the Dolphins with such a strong sense of competitive honor in 2019, if he didn’t spur the Dolphins to win five of their last nine games to finish 5-11, then surely Ross looks guilty of bribing for it. His tank team. Thanks to Flores’ efforts, the league could not or could not conclude that Ross’ organization had dropped matches. However, it turns out that Flores spoke the truth about his despicable former boss when he made the scathing accusation that Ross offered him $100,000 for each loss. “There are mixed memories about the wording, timing and context,” the association said in a statement. But Ross seems to have said that, or something close to it.
He trained Flores to win despite his owner’s pressure and duplicity, somehow managing to make something competitive out of a barren roster of talent—not a single player getting just one vote for the pro team—that is all that allowed the NFL catcher. Mary Jo White to generously conclude that Ross did not actually dive his team.
NFL suspends, fines dolphin company owner Stephen Ross, strips team of two recruiting choices
Instead, the league just suspended and fined Ross $1.5 million on Tuesday for tampering, for being a stalker and a deceiver who tried to criticize talent from other teams with a host of other unethical behavior — violations of Malik’s “unprecedented scope and severity” according to an announcement by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Remember the long-term job Flores did, even when Ross was complicit? On the Sunday before Christmas, Flores urged his team to a 38-35 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime, a game that meant absolutely nothing but that Flores made it mean something to the players. A week later, Flores led the Dolphins into this unthinkable reversal for the New England Patriots, 27-24, to deny them a goodbye in the playoffs. Remember that? Do you remember who the dolphins had at what laughably passed that day? Patrick Laird, the unpolished free agent whose nickname was “The Apprentice,” because that’s what everyone on the team thought, as opposed to backtracking.
Remember Ryan Fitzpatrick who outplayed Tom Brady, even when Ross—through a medium—played a foot massage with Brady in “numerous and elaborate” secret communications in flagrant violation of league rules, trying to spoil the Hamptons and their Palm Beach neighbor Robert Kraft?
Imagine how Flores felt Ross mumbling in his ear the entire time, putting pressure on him to mess with Brady and hinting how happy the owner would be if, somehow, he lost enough games to improve his draft position.
According to the league, Ross has repeatedly expressed his “belief that Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take precedence over the team’s win-loss record.” Ross told Flores. Said it to Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel. He told General Manager Chris Greer and Senior Vice President Brandon Shore. He said it “on several occasions”. He said that often, in a way that worried Flores, the coach felt compelled to document this in a note written to senior executives, eventually forcing Ross to dump him, at least with him.
“I am grateful that the NFL investigator found my factual allegations against Stephen Ross to be true,” Flores said in a statement on Tuesday. “At the same time, I am disappointed to learn that the investigator has played down Mr. Ross’ bids and pressure on tank games especially when I wrote and submitted a letter at the time to Dolphins executives documenting my serious concerns on the subject.”
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The association – with an extraordinary charity – found that Ross did not explicitly “order” Flores to lose matches. That remark that dump games and win a hundred thousand was interpreted as a joke. “Whatever the wording, such a suspension was not intended or considered a serious offer,” the association decided.
However, it is clear how dangerous Ross’ verbal pressure can be. The Sports Bribery Act criminalizes “influencing, in any way, by means of bribery in any sports competition.” What if Ross’ remarks were directed at a coach who had less iron than Flores? What if Ross really affected him?
“An owner or a senior executive must understand the weight that his words carry, and the risk that the comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intent or expectation,” Goodell said.
The only reason he didn’t come across as a serious show is because Flores didn’t act on it and instead coached the team with a virtuous disobedience. “The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect coach Flores’ commitment to victory and the Dolphins’ race to win every game,” Goodell said in his statement. “Coach Flores deserves credit for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of the recruiting position to affect his commitment to winning throughout the season.”
Russian statement The response to the punishment was disingenuous in itself. In an astonishing double-talk, he claimed he was “acquitted” through investigation and only accepted punishment so the dolphins could move on, although he strongly disagreed with the “conclusions and punishment”. He did his best to call Flores’ accusations “malicious and libelous.” Until now, Ross did not understand. He doesn’t realize that Flores is actually protecting him by competing wholeheartedly. Had it not been for Flores, Ross would have been completely exposed.