Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross enters field before game against Los Angeles Chargers in Miami Gardens, September 29, 2019.  [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post]

Maimi Dolphins Vs Los Angeles Chargers

Dolphins’ owner suspended, fined $1.5M; team loses draft picks

The NFL on Tuesday suspended and fined Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and stripped the team of two draft picks following a league investigation into tampering and tanking allegations from 2019-22.

A six-month probe led by former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White found the club had “impermissible communications” with Tom Brady on two occasions in an effort to lure the star quarterback to Miami, as well as with the agent for former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

The Dolphins forfeit a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round selection in 2024. Ross was suspended from all activities through Oct. 17 and fined $1.5 million by the league. He was removed indefinitely from all league committees.

“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a news release. “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.”

The investigation concluded that the Dolphins reached out to Brady as far back as 2019 when he was under contract with the rival New England Patriots and that both Ross and Bruce Beal, the team’s vice chairman and limited partner, were involved.

Beal was fined $500,000 and banned from attending any league meeting for the rest of the 2022 season.

The investigation, however, did not find evidence to support the claim of former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores that he was offered money to intentionally lose games to enhance the team’s draft position in 2020.

The report said the team “competed hard to win every game” but acknowledged that Ross made a number of comments that draft position “should take priority over the team’s win-loss record.”

When 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,” the comments stopped, the report said.

“Every club is expected to make a good faith effort to win every game,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game, and public confidence in professional football, demand no less. 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. 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.

“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.”

Ross released a statement saying that although he “strongly disagree(s)” with the findings of tampering, he will accept the punishment. He also said he was pleased to put the tanking allegations to rest.

“The independent investigation cleared our organization of any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores’ other allegations. As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest,” Ross said.

“With regard 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.”

Ross, 82, who made billions in New York real estate, completed the purchase of the Dolphins and their stadium for $1 billion in 2009. In 2021, Forbes valued the team at $3.42 billion.

Flores was fired in January 2022 with two years remaining on his contract, despite leading Miami to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002-03.

Flores and his attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, both released statements following Tuesday’s league announcement.

“We are certainly disheartened that the investigator, and apparently the Commissioner, excused highly inappropriate comments that go to the heart of the game’s integrity regarding tanking as being in jest especially when there was a letter written by Coach Flores at the time demonstrating the gravity with which these comments were received by Coach Flores,” Wigdor said.

Added Flores, “There is nothing more important when it comes to the game of football itself than the integrity of the game. When the integrity of the game is called into question, fans suffer, and football suffers.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2022; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera speaks with the media after practice on day two of minicamp at The Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: NFL fines Ron Rivera, docks Commanders two practices

The NFL fined Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera $100,000 and stripped the team of two organized team activity practices in 2023 for conducting practices with excessive contact in spring sessions, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

ESPN reported the NFL Players Association reviewed the Commanders’ practice sessions on June 1 and 8 and informed the NFL’s Management Council that the team violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

This news comes on the heels of the NFL reportedly pushing back at the Dallas Cowboys for getting too physical in their organized team activities for a second consecutive year.

The league reportedly took away one OTA practice from the Cowboys for 2023, and head coach Mike McCarthy received a fine. ESPN reported that McCarthy was forced to pay $100,000.

ESPN reported Friday that the NFL fined Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith $50,000 after learning that his offensive and defensive linemen engaged in prohibited one-on-one drills.

Friday’s reports from Washington come one week after the Commanders fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for the comments he posted to Twitter that downplayed the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The team said the money will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Trenton Cannon runs the ball against Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Raiders’ Denzel Perryman fined $55K for Week 7 hit

Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Denzel Perryman was fined $55,000 for unnecessary roughness/use of helmet linked to a play he made in a Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, ESPN reported.

The play occurred in the first quarter of the Oct. 24 game when Perryman attempted to tackle Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Raiders won 33-22. and Hurts played 100 percent of the offensive snaps in the game.

No penalty flag was called on the play.

ESPN said Perryman, 28, is appealing the fine.

The amount of the fine indicates Perryman is a repeat offender when it comes to use of helmet. The fine for a first offense is $20,600, and it’s $41,200 for a second offense, ESPN reported.

Heading into Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Perryman is fourth in the NFL with 91 tackles. He is in his first season with the Raiders after spending six in the Chargers organization and has started all eight games.

In the offseason he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, who traded him and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick in August to the Raiders for a sixth-round draft pick in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears inside linebacker Cassius Marsh (59) sacks Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 29-27.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL fines Bears LB Cassius Marsh for unsportsmanlike conduct

The NFL fined Chicago Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh $5,972 for unsportsmanlike conduct, following his taunting penalty in Week 9, reported Saturday.

The report said Marsh plans to appeal the fine.

He was flagged in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ 29-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday. After a sack of Ben Roethlisberger, he celebrated with a karate-style kick, then walked toward the bench of the Steelers — the team that released him before the season started. Referee Tony Corrente threw his flag at that point.

Of the flag, Corrente said, “I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them.”

Players and fans criticized the call against Marsh, which the NFL defended this week, culminating with the fine.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh (99) leaps to sack New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) during the first half  at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh fined for hit on Teddy Bridgewater

Baltimore Ravens rookie defensive end Odafe Oweh was fined $11,457 for his hit last week on Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who left the game with a concussion.

The Ravens (3-1) beat the Broncos (3-1) on Sunday, and Bridgewater was hurt on the Oweh hit on Denver’s final drive of the second quarter.

Oweh wasn’t flagged on the play, and he said he was sorry Bridgewater sustained the concussion.

“There was no ill intent,” Oweh said, via ESPN. “Our mentality is to bring physicality and do everything that we got to do safely, no penalties. I wish Teddy prosperity. I wasn’t trying to do anything dirty.”

Four games into his rookie season, Oweh has two sacks, 10 tackles (three for loss), six QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Oweh, a product of Penn State, was the No. 31 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Bridgewater is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3).

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Kamara fined $5K for wearing Christmas-themed cleats

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for wearing red and green cleats during the Saints’ Christmas Day win.

Though the league allowed Kamara to wear the cleats for the duration of the game, he was fined for non-conforming footwear.

Kamara made history in the cleats, becoming the first player to score six touchdowns in a game since Gale Sayers did it for the Chicago Bears in 1965. He anticipated the penalty.

“Oh, they’re probably going to fine me,” Kamara said after the Saints’ 52-33 win over Minnesota. “If they fine me, whatever it is, I’ll just match it and donate it to charity. You know that the Grinch always tries to steal Christmas.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 14, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) runs with the ball after a catch as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) and linebacker Tyus Bowser (54) defend during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens CB Peters fined for spitting incident

The NFL fined Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters $12,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct for spitting in the direction of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Monday night.

The incident occurred at the end of the first quarter as Landry, who had his back turned, and Peters were walking to the sidelines.

On Thursday, Landry called Peters “cowardly” for his behavior during the Ravens’ 47-42 victory in Cleveland.

“Wait until I turn around and do something like that,” Landry said. “It’s like, do it to my face. Be a man about it if you’re going to do something like that.”

Peters issued a statement denying that he intentionally spit at Landry.

“Where I come from, when you have an issue with someone, you deal with it face-to-face, man-to-man,” he said. “Anyone who believes that I intentionally spit at him does not know me — plain and simple.”

Landry caught six passes for 52 yards and completed a 12-yard pass in the game. Peters registered five tackles.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden adjusts his face covering during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Raiders fined, stripped of 6th-round pick for virus violations

The NFL, issuing its harshest penalty to date for a violation of COVID-19 protocols, fined the Las Vegas Raiders and stripped them of a draft pick, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

The team reportedly was docked $500,000 and a 2021 sixth-round draft pick. In addition, coach Jon Gruden reportedly was fined $150,000 for repeated violations despite prior warnings.

Per Yahoo Sports and NFL Network, the punishments stem from right tackle Trent Brown’s positive COVID-19 test late last month. ESPN added that factors in the sanctions also included Gruden regularly failing to wear a facemask, numerous Raiders players attending a large indoor charity event in September and the club allowing an unauthorized person into the locker room after a Sept. 21 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Weeks earlier, the Raiders were fined $250,000 and Gruden was fined $100,000 for his failure to wear a mask during the Saints game.

Brown originally went on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Oct. 21, prompting the club to send home its entire offensive line as it conducted contact tracing.

Brown was set to return to action last Sunday at Cleveland, but he wound up hospitalized after air entered his bloodstream during a pregame IV. He went back on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

The Raiders also drew the NFL’s ire after quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Jason Witten and several other players attended a Sept. 28 fundraising event hosted by end Darren Waller’s foundation in Henderson, Nev. Pictures were posted online of players, without masks, circulating with event guests.

Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the fact, “We obviously take responsibility for this. You don’t like seeing this. I don’t know that it’s actually been built into our memories that you have to wear a mask. Our organization takes it very seriously.”

The NFL fined the Titans $350,000 late last month after the Tennessee organization had 24 positive COVID-19 games. However, even though the Titans wound up having two games postponed, they weren’t docked a draft pick.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Gainesville, FL, USA;  Florida head coach Dan Mullen, far right, is held back by coaches and law enforcement after a fight broke out at the end of the first half during a game against the Missouri Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK

Fracas costs Florida’s Mullen $25K

Florida head coach Dan Mullen was fined $25,000 and multiple players were disciplined by the Southeastern Conference on Monday for the fight between the Gators and Missouri Tigers on Saturday.

According to NCAA Football Playing Rule 9.5.1.b., player ejections for fighting carry an automatic half-game suspension for the next game.

Mullen will not be suspended, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced, but Florida defensive lineman Zach Carter and linebacker Antwuan Powell are forced to sit for the first half of this week’s game against No. 4 Georgia.

“There is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place at halftime of the Missouri at Florida game Saturday night,” Sankey said. “Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic.”

Sparked by a late hit absorbed by Gators quarterback Kyle Trask, a fracas broke out involving multiple players on each team. Mullen left the sideline and was captured by TV cameras shouting at Missouri players.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey will all miss the first half Missouri’s next game, Nov. 14 against Georgia.

The Gators defeated the Tigers 41-17.

–Field Level Media

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Detroit Lions Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. (8) walks on to the field before  mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fines Lions LB Collins $35K for bumping ref

The NFL fined Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins $35,096 for making contact with an official with his helmet in the season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears.

Collins is appealing the fine, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Referee Alex Kemp ejected Collins from the Week 1 game in the second quarter after Collins lowered the crown of his helmet and gently bumped into Kemp’s chest.

It appeared that Collins was trying to demonstrate what had happened during the previous play, when Bears running back David Montgomery lowered his head into Collins. Kemp said after the game it was “unnecessary contact.”

Collins, 30, signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Lions in March.

He had two tackles against the Bears and added five tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack in last Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

A two-time Super Bowl champion and 2015 Pro Bowl selection with New England, Collins has 582 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles and 10 interceptions in 98 career games with the Patriots (2013-16, 2019), Cleveland Browns (2016-18) and Lions.

–Field Level Media