NFL disciplines Miami Dolphins for team’s improper pursuit of Tom Brady
While the team was stripped of its first- and third-round picks, team owner Stephen Ross was suspended and fined $1.5 million. The league clears the team of “tank” charges.
The NFL stripped the Miami Dolphins of two high draft picks and fined owner Stephen Rose for the team’s inappropriate pursuit of quarterback Tom Brady, officials said Tuesday.
Brady, now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is still under contract with the New England Patriots for the 2019-20 season, according to a statement from the NFL, when Miami violated league rules by sending the reliable Hall of Famer Signalman greeted.
“These communications began as early as August 2019 and continued through the 2019 season and playoffs,” according to the NFL statement, which specifically named Rose and team vice president Bruce Beal.
“These extensive and detailed discussions were conducted by Mr. Beal, who in turn made Mr. Rose and other Dolphins executives aware of his discussions with Mr. Brady.”
While potential new employers contact millions of ordinary American workers every day, the professional sports world has generally embraced norms against the practice.
Courting, “tampering” with players and executives who have signed with another team is strictly prohibited.
Brady shocked the football world by leaving New England ahead of the 2020 season to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in his first season in Florida.
The NFL said the Dolphins continued to chase Brady even after he signed with Tampa Bay.
“The Dolphins have again made impermissible communications with Mr. Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season while he is under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” the league said.
“These discussions begin no later than early December 2021 and focus on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner with the Dolphins and potentially as a football executive, although at times they also include the possibility of him playing for the Dolphins. Both Mr. Ross And Bill was an active participant in these discussions.”
Representatives for the Patriots and Buccaneers declined to comment Tuesday.
Ross was suspended until October 17 and fined $1.5 million. He was banned from using team facilities and could not represent the team in any competitions. Additionally, Miami was stripped of a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft and a third-round pick in 2024.
“Investigators uncovered a tampering violation of unprecedented scope and severity,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“I don’t know of any team before that violated the ban on tampering with managers and star players, which could harm multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Again, I don’t know that ownership is so directly related to the breach. previous example,” he added.