The Cleveland Browns are under investigation for tanking during the 2016-17 seasons. During those two years, the Browns won exactly one game and went 1-31.
The allegations were originally alleged by former Browns head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson coached the team during those seasons and the start of the 2018 year. He went 2-5-1 to start the 2018 season before being fired and replaced by the tam’s defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
After former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores alleged that Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross was offering him $100,000 per loss, Jackson said on Twitter that the Browns were offering him “a good number” to lose. In another tweet, the executive director of Jackson’s foundation Kimberley Diemert named team executives Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry as well as Jackson as being paid bonus money for losing from 2016-17. Diemert also said that they have records to back up those claims. DePodesta and Berry are still with the Browns.
Jackson later rescinded his allegations that he was paid to lose, but stuck by his claim that owner Jimmy Haslem’s plan was to lose on purpose.
“No, I was never offered money like Brian had mentioned,” Jackson told CNN. “I think this is a totally different situation but has some similarities.”
“I told Jimmy that what he was doing was very destructive, to not do this because it’s going to hurt my career and every other coach that worked with me and every player on the team. And I told him that it would hurt every Black coach that would follow me. And I have the documents to prove this,” Jackson said.
The Browns have since released a statement on the investigation. They deny any wrongdoing and claim to welcome the investigation.
“Even though Hue recanted his allegations a short time after they were made,” the team said, “it was important to us and to the integrity of the game to have an independent review of the allegations. We welcomed an investigation and we are confident the results will show, as we’ve previously stated, that these allegations are categorically false. We have fully cooperated with Mary Jo White and look forward to her findings.”
Investigating the Browns will be Mary Jo White, who is also investigating the Dolphins for the tanking allegations that stemmed from Flores’ initial claim.
Ironically, the investigation was revealed to the public on the same day that the Browns signed their third record-breaking contract in two years and their second such extension this off-season. Not only that, but the player extended, Denzel Ward, was one who was acquired via the draft during the alleged tanking seasons.