The NFL is investigating Hue Jackson’s claims that the Cleveland Browns paid him to tank.
In the wake of the ongoing lawsuit Brian Flores has with the NFL, the league is now investigating Hue Jackson’s claims that the Cleveland Browns paid him to lose games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Cleveland went an atrocious 1-31 during those two seasons. While Jackson’s coaching played a big part in the team’s inability to get it done on the gridiron, keep in mind that the Browns were in the midst of a most painful rebuild as well. Not only that, but this organization has been mostly poorly run since Jimmy Haslam bought the team in 2012. This can of worms has been ripped open.
With Dolphins owner Stephen Ross being part of the Flores lawsuit and Daniel Snyder having his own issues on the Washington Commanders side of things, proof that Haslam was paying Jackson to tank will have disastrous consequences for his ownership stake in Cleveland.
NFL investigating Hue Jackson’s claims the Cleveland Browns paid him to tank
Look. The NFL has to do its due diligence and see if there is any merit to Jackson’s claims. The league cannot have owners willingly paying coaches to lose games. Doing so would compromise the integrity of the sport. With gambling becoming an increasingly prevalent source of income league-wide, the NFL cannot let its product become a gimmick akin to professional wrestling.
Unless there is documented dialogue, or more importantly, proof of pay-to-tank payments going from Haslam’s bank account into Jackson’s, this will be very difficult to prove. Where the Browns actively tanking at this time? Yes, but organizations tank, while players and coaches do not. Coaches carry that win-loss record forever, and bad tape never goes away for a free-agent player.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if anything becomes of the NFL’s investigation into Jackson’s claims of the Browns offering him incentives to tank. If there is evidence of this, then Haslam should lose his team. If Jackson took Haslam’s money, he should never coach in the NFL again. Simply, the league cannot allow owners and coaches to compromise the sport’s integrity.
Overall, the NFL has made it abundantly clear that financial incentives to tank will not be tolerated.