Dolphins' Stephen Ross Reportedly Plans to Change Successor to Daughter Jennifer

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross indicated to the NFL he wants control of the franchise passed down to his daughter, Jennifer, upon his death, according to Sports Business Journal's Ben Fischer.

Fischer reported the process hasn't been finalized, but the idea has been circulated by Ross to other NFL executives for months.

Ross remains under suspension by the NFL following an investigation into whether the Dolphins intentionally lost games in 2019 and whether they had impermissible contact with Tom Brady and then-New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed suit against the NFL along with the Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants, alleging he was the victim of racial discrimination. Flores contended he was offered $100,000 for each game Miami lost in 2019 because the franchise wanted to prioritize its draft position.

The suit remains open, but the NFL filed a motion in June attempting to push the case into arbitration.

The NFL's investigation, which was led by Mary Jo White, seemed to reach a contradictory set of conclusions.

The league said Miami "did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season" but that Ross "expressed his belief that the Dolphins' position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team's win-loss record" on multiple occasions.

The NFL did, however, determine Dolphins officials reached out to Brady when he was with the New England Patriots and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Among the ideas tabled was making Brady a limited partner in the organization and perhaps even his suiting up for the team.

Miami was also guilty of contacting Don Yee, Payton's agent, and failing to seek permission from the Saints before doing so.

Along with Ross, Dolphins vice chairman Bruce Beal was named in the report.

Fischer reported that Ross' previous succession plan called for Beal to take over, so giving control to Jennifer "would also forestall the awkward step of Beal seeking approval to ascend to controlling owner after being punished for tampering."

Per Fischer, Ross' decision was "not related to the recent tampering/tanking investigation," though.

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported in April 2016 that NFL owners voted in favor of a plan paving the way for Beal to take over. He would gain the right of first refusal to purchase the Dolphins in the event Ross died or signaled his desire to sell the team.

Having gained a 50 percent stake in the Dolphins in February 2008, Ross became the controlling owner in January 2009. Forbes valued the Dolphins at $3.42 billion in its most recent calculation.


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