“Violations of unprecedented scope and severity:” NFL fines Stephen Ross for tampering with Tom Brady

Miami Dolphins owner and Related prez Bruce Beal suspended

From left: Related's Stephen M. Ross and Bruce A. Beal, Jr. (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images, Related)
From left: Related's Stephen Ross and Bruce Beal (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images, Related)

The NFL dropped the hammer on Related Companies founder Stephen Ross and president Bruce Beal for violations of league policies, including repeated “impermissible” communications with superstar quarterback Tom Brady.

The league suspended the Miami Dolphins owner after a six-month investigation found Ross and Beal to have violated the league’s anti-tampering policy on three occasions, ESPN reported. Tampering involves recruiting players who are under contract with another team, as Brady is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended through Oct. 17, meaning he won’t be allowed at the Dolphins facility for the next two months, and cannot attend any league meeting prior to the league’s annual one next year.

Meanwhile, Beal, who is vice-chair of the Dolphins, was fined $500,000 and suspended from league meetings for the rest of the calendar year.

Most painfully, the league stripped the Dolphins team of its 2023 first-round draft pick and 2024 third-round draft pick.

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Beal was found to have communicated impermissibly with Brady in 2019 and again in 2021, discussing the star quarterback joining as a limited partner and possibly football executive during the latter conversation. Brady retired after last season, but quickly came back to football to rejoin the Buccaneers.

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The league also found that the Dolphins had impermissible contact with Don Yee, who represents both Brady and head coach Sean Payton, who had yet to retire from the New Orleans Saints. Payton plans on taking the year off from the sidelines.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said “the investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity.”

The investigation started in February, when former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, alleging racist hiring practices while accusing the Dolphins owner of trying to pay off the coach to lose games. The NFL did not find any evidence that the team intentionally lost games during the 2019 season.

— Holden Walter-Warner