What is tampering in the NFL? Dolphins owner fined and suspended for breaching rules

Miami Dolphins Introduce Mike McDaniel
Miami Dolphins Introduce Mike McDaniel

The NFL has suspended and fined Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross over tampering after the league conducted a six-month investigation.

The suspension is in regards to the Dolphins tampering with Tom Brady. The authorities have also docked the organization a first-round draft pick in next year's draft, as well as a third-round pick. Owner Ross is suspended until the middle of October and was fined $1.5 million.

According to TMZ Sports, the Dolphins broke the Anti-Tampering Policy three times. Once with Sean Payton, who was the New Orleans Saints head coach, and then twice with Tom Brady. This happened back in 2019-20 when Brady was still with the Patriots, and again in 2021 when he was with the Buccaneers.

It was thought that Brady would retire at the end of last season to make the move to Miami.

There were rumors swirling around at the time of Brady's retirement that he and Payton were going to link up in Miami with Brady becoming a minority owner while playing and Payton getting to be the team's new coach.

But those plans were scuppered when Flores' lawsuit against the Dolphins came to light.


Tampering in the league is when a team makes contact with a player who is under contract with another team, outside of the legal tampering portion of NFL free agency.

The definition of the NFL's official anti-tampering rule is listed below via nflcommunications.com.

The term tampering, as used within the National Football League, refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.
Cleveland Browns v New York Jets
Cleveland Browns v New York Jets

After the league's investigation, they found that Ross and the Dolphins contacted both Brady and Payton outside of the league's legal tampering period during free agency, which is a three-day period and is the unofficial start of free agency.

The Dolphins organization and its owners have copped their right whack and it brings negative attention to an offseason that was filled with a lot of excitement.

NFL imposes punishment on Dolphins owner Stephen Ross

Either way, Stephen Ross will not be able to be at the Dolphins facility, attend any league meetings, nor attend any game events.

Ross released a statement on the ruling and said that he did not agree with it, but in the best interests of the team, he will not be challenging it in any capacity.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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