Stephen Ross Could Be Forced to Sell the Dolphins (And That Might Be the Least of His Concerns)

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Stephen Ross Could Be Forced to Sell the Dolphins (And That Might Be the Least of His Concerns)

Chicago Bears

Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, et al. was filed, in part, to force the NFL into widespread changes, particularly when it comes to the lack of Black and other minority coaches in the league. But, the lawsuit’s impact on the Miami Dolphins is already being felt after Flores’ alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross incentivized losses by offering Flores $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season.

According to Mike Florio, the expectation is that Ross could be forced to sell the Miami Dolphins for his actions in 2019.

In his latest column at Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio writes that Ross could be forced to sell the Miami Dolphins if the NFL concludes that Ross offered Brian Flores a monetary bribe in exchange for losing games to beef up the Dolphins impending draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

As we know, Joe Burrow was the apple of Ross’ eye in the spring of 2020 after Burrow orchestrated the single-greatest college football season ever by throwing for 5,600-plus yards and 60 touchdowns as he led the LSU Tigers to an undefeated season and a CFB National Championship. Not only did Ross allegedly offer Brian Flores a monetary bribe on multiple occasions according to Flores’ lawsuit, Ross and Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier did everything they could to trade up to No. 1 to draft Burrow, but the Bengals would not play ball. That worked out pretty well for them.

In Flores’ lawsuit, it reads that the main reason for his firing last month was because he refused the owner’s directive to “tank” for the first pick in the draft. Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami’s owner Stephen Ross told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that “Steve” was “mad” that Mr. Flores’ success in winning games that year was “compromising [the team’s] draft position.”

It’s also alleged in the lawsuit that Ross pressured Flores into recruiting a “prominent quarterback” in violation of the NFL’s tampering rules. It’s alleged that Ross went as far as to arrange a meeting with Flores at a marina where this quarterback “conveniently” arrived at the same time for an impromptu meeting that Ross hoped Flores would engage in. Like the tanking bribes, Flores declined the meeting with the unnamed quarterback and Stephen Ross.

Florio believes that the NFL will eventually conclude that Ross is guilty of those allegations, and the other 31 owners could very well move to force Ross to sell the Miami Dolphins. But, if concrete evidence, such as witness testimony, emerges in this investigation, being forced to sell the Dolphins could be the least of Ross’ problems. Under The Sports Bribery Act (18 U.S.C. § 224), Ross could be indicted by a grand jury for offering Flores monetary incentives for losing games.

The statute reads, wherein it pertains to Ross, “Whoever carries into effect, attempts to carry into effect, or conspires with any other person to carry into effect any scheme in commence to influence, in any way, by bribery any sporting contest, with knowledge of the purpose of such scheme is to influence by bribery that contests, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

That’s right; Ross could be looking at grand jury indictment, being forced to sell his team, or maybe even both. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could be in the same boat after Hue Jackson suggested that Haslam did something similar during his time as the head coach of the Browns.

As far as I’m concerned, good riddance to both of them, especially Ross. This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the widespread ramifications Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL and its owners will have, and it’s a darn good place to start.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.