The timing of the Stephen Ross announcement can’t be a coincidence

For months, Mary Jo White had been investigating Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. The facts, as to tampering or tanking, weren’t complicated. It shouldn’t have taken as long as it did.

Ultimately, it took just as long as it needed to.

It surely isn’t a coincidence that the NFL announced a suspension of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for tampering (while somehow exonerating him for tanking) one day after Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should be suspended six games for four claims of non-violent sexual assault. Not only does the Ross announcement knock the Watson case out of the headlines, but it also shows that the league can and will (sometimes) impose stiff punishment on owners.

Of course, a six-game suspension for Ross isn’t the same thing as a six-game suspension for a player. While Ross must stay away from the team, he’ll still get six weeks of ticket and TV revenue — amounts that far exceed the $1.5 million fine that was imposed on him by the Commissioner.

That’s one of the many points made in Playmakers, which devotes an entire section to the league’s treatment of owners, in comparison to the league’s treatment of players. Today’s announcement is an obvious effort to show that owners get punished, too.

Speaking of Playmakers, today would be a great day to buy it. A lot of what we do and how we do it has been vindicated by the league’s confirmation of the fact that the Dolphins were indeed trying to land Sean Payton and Tom Brady, reporting which many disregarded and/or ignored. And plenty of what we do and how we do it is documented in the more than 100 essays contained in Playmakers.