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Earlier this year, the former Miami Dolphins Head coach Brian Flores alleged that team owner Stephen Ross wanted to pay Flores $100,000 for every loss during the 2019 season.
The allegations were enough for the league to investigate Ross, who was suspended for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
However, the tanking directive was never given to Flores or anyone else, according to their running coach.
“From top to bottom, [the goal was] winning football games and getting ready and getting ready to go – that’s how it’s always been,” Eric Studesville said Wednesday, by ESPN. “That’s how I think this game is fair. That’s what we do, that’s what I owe to the game, every time we have the chance to compete, we try our best. He has never been anything more than that expressed for us or for me.”
The investigation found no evidence that the team refueled deliberately. However, it was discovered that Ross felt that losing games was best for the team’s future and should take priority over winning.
But “that’s just not how we’re wired. None of that has ever been shared,” Studesville added.
“The Dolphins intentionally did not lose any games during the 2019 season,” the NFL memo reads. “Nobody at the club, including Mr Ross, asked Coach Flores to do it. No witness testified to the contrary. worsening Miami’s position in the 2020 draft.”
The NFL also said Ross’ advances to Flores were “not intended or considered a serious offer, and the subject was not pursued in any respect by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club”.
Flores’ lawsuit alleges the league discriminated against him and other black coaches on racial grounds, barring them from being hired as head coaches, general managers and other important positions on all league teams. .
After investigation, Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended for six games. The Dolphins also lost their 2023 first-round pick and their 2024 third-round pick.