Results of the Investigation

Results of the Investigation

Brian Flores was the face of the Dolphins. As a Black man I was extremely proud that my team, the Miami Dolphins, were represented by a black man of Latin descent. I was proud that my team had one of the most diverse front offices in the entire league, with plenty of people of color and women in high-ranking positions. The Dolphins filled the positions of General Manager and Assistant General Manager with persons of color. The Dolphins were one of a few teams that had a black head coach. Additionally, both of our quarterbacks were people of color. Then Brian Flores dropped the most ridiculous lawsuit on the Dolphins that had absolutely nothing to do with the Dolphins and it broke my heart.

I understand if Flores felt aggrieved at the hand of the New York Football Giants for not getting a fair shot. If he was brought in for an interview solely to be a token Black applicant to fulfill antiquated Rooney Rule quotas, then that really is a major violation of the spirit of diverse hiring practices. If the Giants really knew that ahead of the interview with Flores, they were going to go with Daboll, then B Flo’s interview with the Giants had to feel like a sham. However, what does that have to do with the Dolphins? They were the team that hired Flores. The Miami Dolphins were the team that elevated Flores to be a head coach when he had never been a head coach or coordinator at any level. Then it hit me, Flores was a disgruntled former employee. Upset at his termination, he decided that he wanted to inflict maximum damage on the Dolphins organization and really all he did was hurt the fans that supported him for years. The same fanbase that was expressively upset that Flores was let go after the season are the same fans that he betrayed when he included the Dolphins in a lawsuit that had nothing to do with the Dolphins.

Stephen Ross is not the best owner of a sports franchise out there. I acknowledge that fact. Conversely, Ross is not the worst either. The guy has invested his own money in the team, stadium, and the community. Ross self-funded the stadium renovations, added a roof so that we did not have to sit in the hot sun or rain anymore, and he brought many world class events back to Miami Gardens. These events included but were not limited to the Super Bowl, the NCAA football championship, F1 Miami Grand Prix, Miami Open Tennis Tournament, soccer matches of European champions, Rolling Loud Music festival, a future World Cup, and he also built a new world class practice facility for the Dolphins on site as well. These are things that many other owners would not do. Those things count for something because they stimulate the local economy.
As a direct result of the investments of Stephen Ross, that area of Miami Gardens is being regentrified and built up by many different corporations and residential condominium developers. Ross is an accomplished businessperson, but picking the right football mind to lead a franchise is the hardest task to do in the business world. You can pick a bright football mind that everyone thinks highly of and it still may not translate into wins for the team. I do not put that solely at the feet of Ross because he is not a football guy, and he does not pretend to be one. He is unafraid to admit that he cannot tell the difference between a run play and a mesh concept.

Results of the Investigation

Ross has hired many people that are smarter than him that were football guys to lead the organization. He has invested in the organization. He has opened his checkbook to sign free agents. Ross has improved the fan experience. Ross has invested in the community. Truly, that is about all that one can ask from an owner. Winning would be nice but his losing has not come for a lack of trying. Remember that plane ride to the Bay area to try and recruit Harbaugh? I mean, Ross has definitely been shooting his shots.

Now that brings us to the big controversy about the Dolphins losing draft picks for tampering to try and bring Brady and Sean Payton to Miami. Many people are mad at Ross for doing this and costing the team so dearly. Truth be told, the NFL gave us a pass on this one. Do not get me wrong, losing a first and a third stings for sure, but it could have been far worse for what Ross was accused of and caught doing. Ross is an evil genius in my book now. He had Tom Brady and Sean Payton on the hook, and he almost pulled it off but for the sabotage and snitching of a former employee.

I genuinely believe that Ross let go of Flores not because he did not make the playoffs for three seasons, although that was certainly a factor. He let him go because he probably appraised Flores as someone who preferred to have the power rather than do whatever it took to win. When the G.O.A.T. is on a boat telling you that he wants to come play for your team, you listen. Flores decided that he preferred to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick over Tom Brady. No disrespect to Fitz, he made himself into a fan favorite in Miami, but Ross had to watch the way Flores blew up that situation in 2019, which forced Brady to go to Tampa Bay instead, with great disdain. Ross had to watch Brady win the Super Bowl in Tampa with great contempt in his heart. That could have been his team celebrating on the water. Instead, Ross was dealing with a difficult head coach that was mishandling their newly drafted quarterback and clearly feared incurring the wrath of Bill Belichick over the desire to do whatever it took to win. Is that the kind of employee that Ross would like to keep? Was the loyalty of Flores sworn to the Dolphins or to Belichick in New England?

The answer to that question was clear and Ross had to make a move. However, you know Ross. He is a go big or go home kind of guy. Ross was not going to get rid of Flores and just make a move for a marginal candidate. He swung for the fences and lined up a renowned Super Bowl winning offensive guru in Sean Payton to take over the team that already had a stellar defense. Brady and Payton? To think that Ross almost pulled it off is not even fathomable. Dolfans around the world would have been celebrating for sure. Now it all makes sense how Brady suddenly retired from the Buccaneers and why Sean Payton suddenly resigned from New Orleans and was noticeably clear that he did not have interest in taking the Cowboys job. That is because he knew that he and Brady were going to Miami. Flores caught wind of the plan and decided to torpedo the plan by filing a lawsuit and including details about Miami that served to out the Dolphins and did nothing to advance the cause of his lawsuit for lack of racial diversity in the hiring practices of the NFL. For that reason, I have more respect for Ross today and less love for Flores.

You can say that I am condoning cheating and that is a fair point. However, making early contact with free agents is a quite common and regular thing. You do not kick the tires on all-time guys like Brady and Payton once they officially become free agents. At that point you are already too late. Impermissible contacts with agents, teams, and players happens all the time. So, I am simply unmoved by that allegation. If the GOAT wants to come on your boat and a coach like Payton expresses interest in coming to your organization, you have to listen. It is your obligation to listen. I would have been more disappointed in Ross if I later found out that he had an opportunity of a lifetime like this and did not do his due diligence to get it done.
Regarding the tanking allegations. Ross wanted to see what we had in the recently traded for former first round pick Josh Rosen. If that led to losses and a better draft position the following year to get Joe Burrow, so be it. The league investigation did not find that it was more likely than not that the Dolphins as an organization adopted a policy of tanking or losing games on purpose to improve their draft pick position in 2019. The preponderance of the evidence did not support Flore’s tanking allegation. The comments about tanking were admittedly made by Ross, but it was not to the outrageous degree that we first believed. Ross stated to Tom Garfinkel, Chris Grier, Brandon Shore, and Brian Flores in a meeting late in the season that their draft position should take priority over winning games, but there was never any pressure to lose games. The NFL found no corroboration that Ross offered Flores $100,000 per loss. Plus, after Flores complained about the offhand comment, the message that came back to Flores from the Dolphins brass was that they wanted Flores to win games and build a winning culture. No tanking philosophy was instituted and as a result no penalty was warranted. Case closed.

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