NFL retains former SEC chair to probe Brian Flores’ claims of being ordered to tank games 

Flores' accusations are part of the former Miami Dolphins head coach's lawsuit against the NFL claiming racial discrimination.

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Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been appointed by the National Football League to oversee its investigation into Brian Flores’ accusations of tanking by the Miami Dolphins, The Washington Post reported.

Flores’ accusations are part of the former Dolphins head coach’s lawsuit against the NFL and several teams claiming racial discrimination. Flores says Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for each loss during the 2019 season in order to secure the top pick in the 2020 draft.

This July 2021 photo shows Brian Flores, then head coach of the Miami Dolphins, speaking with the media prior to training camp in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

The team went 5-11 in 2019, and the following year, selected Tua Tagovailoa as the fifth choice. The No. 1 pick went to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Flores was fired after last season.

“The purported basis for his termination was alleged poor collaboration,” Flores’ lawsuit reads. “In reality, the writing had been on the wall since Mr. Flores’ first season as Head Coach of the Dolphins, when he refused his owner’s directive to ‘tank’ for the first pick in the draft. Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that ‘Steve’ was ‘mad’ that Mr. Flores’ success in winning games that year was ‘compromising [the team’s] draft position.’”

Ross has denied the lawsuit’s claims.

“With regards to the allegations being made by Brian Flores, I am a man of honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding,” he said in a statement last month, per The Post.

“I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known,” Ross asserted. “His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome that investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed several of the declarations from Flores’ lawsuit at the annual state-of-the-league news conference during Super Bowl week. He called them all “very disturbing.”

“They are very serious matters to us, on all levels,” Goodell said. “We need to make sure we get to the bottom of all of it. Integrity of the game is obviously an important element. … We are going to look into that. We are going to make sure if there were violations that they won’t be tolerated. … When we know what those facts are and the impact it has on our game, we’ll deal with it very seriously.”

Investigation leader White was the first woman to serve as U. S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District, where she worked from 1993 to 2002. She served as the 31st chair of the SEC from 2013 to 2017. 

White is also investigating a sexual harassment claim against the Washington Commanders and its team owner, Daniel Snyder.

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