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Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made his first public comments on the Brian Flores lawsuit on Wednesday night, calling the former coach’s claims “false, malicious and defamatory.”

“I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known,” the statement read. “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.”

Flores sued the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants on Tuesday, saying racist hiring practices by the league have left it racially segregated and managed like a plantation. He was fired last month after posting a 24–25 record over three seasons with Miami.

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On Wednesday, Mark Maske of The Washington Post and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the NFL would investigate Flores’s claims that Ross attempted to pay Flores to lose games during the 2019 season. Flores also alleges that Ross wanted the coach to recruit a “prominent quarterback” who was under contract with another team during a meeting on the owner’s yacht. The coach refused and left the boat before the player may have arrived.

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