While it’s an absolute classic, Stephen Ross probably won’t be able to say a “Sike! Crazy!” to get out of here.
Mike Florio of NBC’s ProFootballTalk is reporting that there is “a belief that the league’s investigation will conclude that Ross did indeed make the offer,” referring to former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ allegation that the owner offered him $100,000 to lose games during the 2019 season Flores was fired in January after playing 24-25 with the Dolphins for three seasons, winning eight of his last nine games as head coach. He has since sued the NFL for racial discrimination.
The NFL is in the early stages of an ongoing investigation into Ross, and Florio also reported that “the feeling is emerging that Ross will claim he was joking.” (I’m not sure the NFL will find that particularly funny.)
NFL-owned media affiliate, NFL.comalso reports that Ross could be voted out of the league by a three-quarters majority pending investigation of the competition by the other owners.
“When we know what those facts are and the impact it has on our game, we will take them very seriously, just as we will if there is any discrimination in the league,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week. “They will be treated very seriously.”
Yeah, okay, Roger.
For starters, there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate sanctions system for misbehaving owners in the NFL, which we learned all too quickly with the situation in Washington. Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins franchise in 2008 for $550 million and another 45 percent in 2009 for $1.1 billion. NFL teams today go for about $4 billion, which would mean a significant profit for 81-year-old Ross if he were “forced” to sell.
And for another, barring personal loathing or some grander plan that we plebeians are woefully unaware of, there’s very little chance that the owners will actually vote Ross out. They would vote, of course, but if they couldn’t get the 75 percent majority, everything would be forgotten and the Dolphins organization would just continue with the billionaire at the helm. Because if they voted him out—or for that matter, if they voted Snyder out—they would expose themselves to a similar fate. The owners will circle the wagons, preventing all-out warfare, complete with voting factions and alliances and blackmail if there’s anything to blackmail. Voting one of them out would mean taking off their body armor.
I’m not going to say it’s a complete, 100 percent impossibility that Ross will be forced to sell if the NFL’s investigation shows that he actually tried pitching games to get a better draft position in 2019. Hard to do. actually prove that the offer was made unless there are multiple witnesses to such a conversation willing to talk to Goodell and his investigative team, but the interesting thing about all of this is how quickly the NFL is suddenly able to act when they have an concrete villainous act presented to them that directly affects what they see as the “integrity” of the game.
“Integrity” didn’t matter when women were harassed under Snyder’s property, nor when qualified non-white coaches lost their jobs year after year. It’s a funny word – applied here to the very embodiment of the game itself, the battle that takes place on the field every weekend that millions of American viewers trust is a true representation of how hard each team is trying to win. The integrity of the game is at stake, rather than the integrity of the competition. But how can we expect that what happens on the pitch, in a competition largely lacking in integrity, does not reflect such a flaw?
To see Jon Gruden’s emails written on the page for us, or to hear that a specific dollar amount was being offered to fuel a game – those are useful items in the eyes of the competition, but also in that of the public. How can a coach still have a job after saying such things? How can an owner be trusted with a team whose best interests he does not have in mind? But the racism and sexism — systemic problems, the exposure of which relies on testimonials from women and minorities who have experienced such things in competition — get a very different answer. Because it is those people, in this case, who threaten the true integrity of the NFL, an integrity where those in power remain in power, and as the Flores lawsuit put it, “racially segregated and run like a plantation… The owners watch the games from NFL stadiums in their luxury boxes, as their predominantly black workforce puts their bodies on the line every Sunday, taking nasty blows and debilitating injuries to their bodies and brains, while the NFL and its owners spend billions of dollars.”
In the 2021-2022 season, Flores was one of only three Black Head Coaches and one of five Minority Head Coaches in the league. Two, including him, were fired in the most recent cycle.
The NFL doesn’t want to change. The owners don’t want to change. It can all really be summed up in the league’s initial response to the Flores lawsuit, in which they denied all of the claims he had made but wanted to investigate the bribery. That must have been the only thing he didn’t lie about. That was the only part that threatened their idea of the integrity of the game.
The Ross investigation is still in its early stages, and while Goodell says the NFL will take the matter “very seriously”, he has lost some sort of credibility after the Snyder investigation. But really, what will he do if the owners don’t vote? The billionaire a few million dollars fine? Oh no!
While there have been (and still are) rumors that Snyder would be forced to sell the Washington Commanders after reports of workplace harassment by both top executives and Snyder himself, no action has been taken apart from an NFL investigation that went virtually nowhere. led. Ross has denied all bribery charges.