Bruce Beal was once expected to take over as owner of the Miami Dolphins after Stephen Ross passed away, as outlined by a 2016 succession plan between the two friends and business partners. That will not happen now.
Ross and Beal, both currently suspended by the NFL after a league investigation found they violated tampering rules by trying to get Tom Brady to the Dolphins, have agreed that the succession plan they signed should be laid aside, a source told OutKick Thursday evening.
Ross has taken steps to notify the NFL of his intention to change his successor from Beal to his daughter, Jennifer Ross, the Sports Business Journal reported.
The SBJ reported the process of Ross drafting the proper documents switching out Beal and keeping the team succession plan within his family has not been completed.
But regardless of where the process stands, it is clear Beal is prepared to step aside and Ross is going in another direction, per multiple sources. Beal and Ross remain business partners for the Related Companies that Ross founded and Beal serves as president and partner.
The Dolphins declined to comment Thursday evening.
This makes sense because it avoids a scenario in which the Dolphins, already the object of the NFL’s and commissioner Roger Goodell’s ire, would suffer more embarrassment.
That embarrassment would come in a scenario where Ross passes, Beal exercises his option to buy the team, but fellow owners refuse to approve him by the necessary votes because of his role in the Brady tampering issue.
Beal, a club limited partner, is currently not allowed to attend any league meeting for the remainder of the 2022 season and was fined $500,000 for his role in the Brady tampering.
That role, per the NFL’s investigation, consisted of Beal conducting “numerous and detailed discussions” with Brady in 2019-20 while the quarterback was under contract to the New England Patriots.
Beal, the report states, kept Ross and other Dolphins executives informed of his discussions with Brady. Beal also tampered with Brady “during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Brady becoming a Dolphins limited partner and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times also included the ultimate goal of getting Brady to play for the team.
Beal and Ross were active participants in those discussions, per the NFL investigation.
Ross is suspended through October 17 and was fined $1.5 million while the Dolphins were docked a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024.
Goodell said investigators found tampering violations “of unprecedented scope and severity” in the Dolphins’ case.
That scope and severity will apparently not cost Ross his control of the team after Oct. 17. At least not that we know of.
But it clearly wounded Beal beyond recovery and now he will never own the Dolphins — or likely any NFL team.
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