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Directive to lose video games in 2019 by Miami Dolphins proprietor Stephen Ross by no means made it to subject, assistant says

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MIAMI — Whereas an NFL-backed investigation could have discovered Dolphins proprietor Stephen Ross made it recognized he believed the workforce’s draft place ought to take priority over profitable video games in 2019, these beliefs didn’t make it all the way down to the soccer subject.

Dolphins operating backs coach Eric Studesville, who has held that title since 2018, stated the workforce’s directive in the course of the 2019 season was not questioned so far as he knew.

“From the highest down, [the goal was] to win soccer video games and put together and prepare to go — that is the way it’s all the time been,” Studesville stated Wednesday. “That is how I believe this sport is true. That is what we do, that is what I owe the sport, each time we get an opportunity to compete, we do our greatest. There was by no means something apart from that expressed to us or to me.”

In February, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit in opposition to the NFL and the Dolphins, alleging racism within the league’s hiring practices. Within the lawsuit, Flores claims that Ross tried to incentivize him to “tank,” or purposely lose video games, shortly after he was employed in 2019, with Ross allegedly providing Flores $100,000 for each loss that season. Flores says that because the workforce gained video games late within the season, Dolphins common supervisor Chris Grier informed him Ross was “mad” that the on-field success was “compromising [the team’s] draft place.”

The NFL seemed into these allegations as a part of its aforementioned investigation however discovered no proof that the workforce deliberately misplaced video games in the course of the 2019 season. The investigation did, nevertheless, discover that Ross made feedback to workforce president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, common supervisor Chris Grier, senior vice chairman Brandon Shore and Flores that the workforce’s draft place ought to take precedence over profitable video games. When Flores expressed his considerations in writing, he was assured that everybody wished him to construct a “profitable tradition in Miami” and Ross by no means once more made these feedback to Flores.

The investigation additionally discovered that Ross’ provide of $100,000 for each loss, of which there have been “differing recollections in regards to the wording, timing, and context … was not meant or taken to be a severe provide, nor was the topic pursued the least bit by Mr. Ross or anybody else on the membership.”

Studesville insisted that the message to Flores didn’t trickle down into the locker room.

“That is simply not how we’re wired,” he stated. “None of that was ever shared.”

Past the alleged tanking, the NFL investigated and located the Dolphins responsible of tampering with quarterback Tom Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton; Ross and vice chairman/restricted accomplice Bruce Beal made “impermissible contact” with each Brady and agent Don Yee in an try to get each males to hitch the franchise.

Miami’s contact with Yee in regard to Payton occurred earlier than Payton’s retirement in January. The Dolphins ultimately employed former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.

Dolphins tight ends coach and affiliate head coach John Embree stated the workforce did not really feel the necessity to talk about the matter internally, because the indiscretions occurred earlier than they arrived in South Florida.

“Nothing to be stated — management what you may management,” he stated. “We weren’t right here, some gamers have been right here and a few weren’t however on the finish of the day, it would not change what we do so far as how we work and what we do after we get an opponent on Sundays.

“I used to be most likely my spouse’s second alternative,” he joked. “Being first alternative, second alternative, third alternative — it would not matter. It is about being current the place your toes are and profiting from the chance that you simply’re in and that present state of affairs.”

Beal and Ross contacted Brady about changing into a restricted accomplice or soccer govt with the Dolphins, though the potential of taking part in for the workforce was additionally mentioned. These conversations occurred as lately as the tip of the 2021 season and as early because the 2019 season, when Brady was below contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots, respectively.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who’s getting into his third NFL season, stated he and his teammates discovered in regards to the NFL’s report after Tuesday’s follow however did not really feel like his standing with the workforce was any much less safe.

“I got here in 2020, so no matter occurred in 2019, I can not even converse on that,” he stated Wednesday. “So I used to be right here in 2020, and I am nonetheless right here and I am blessed to be right here. If it has to do with assist from the workforce. I believe the workforce’s all-in with me and all the fellows that now we have now.”

The NFL suspended Ross for six video games and fined him $1.5 million, whereas Beal was fined $500,000 and barred from attending any league assembly for all the 2022 season. The Dolphins have been additionally stripped of their first-round decide in 2023 and third-round decide in 2024. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell referred to as Ross’ degree of involvement, in addition to scope and severity of the Dolphins’ tampering, “unprecedented.”

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