The Cleveland Browns seem to find themselves in a midst of trouble thanks to new owner Jimmy Haslam. To NFL fans, we knew he was a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers who became the owner of AFC North rival Cleveland Browns last year. What NFL fans may not know is he owns a company called Pilot Flying J, which has 500 gas stations all over the country and Pilot is in trouble.
The FBI is currently investigating Pilot in what they say the company has been participating in a fraud scam to keep money owed to customers for gas rebates. With this coming out, all NFL fans will know him for what he truly is, a fraud and scam artist who will do nothing but put a black eye on the city of Cleveland, and the team if he doesn’t sell the team to someone else right away.
“I apologize to the City of Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio and all Browns fans because the last thing we ever wanted to do as a new owner was detract from football and the Browns and just what a great football area this is, and so I apologize for that,” Haslam said.
While he did the right thing in apologizing for what has happened with his other company Pilot Flying J, it just isn’t enough for what the city of Cleveland has been put through since 1999. I’ll go back further to 1995 when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore and add in the embarrassment that Lebron James put the city through by publicizing his decision to leave the Cavaliers. It has also been since 2007 that the Browns have been anywhere close to the playoffs and the last thing they need is to have more bad publicity.
All the city of Cleveland has wanted ever since the Browns returned in the league in 1999 was a team that could be a Super Bowl contender. Yet they have been through coach after coach, quarterback after quarterback with zero consistency. It’s no wonder they have become the laughing stock of the league firing coaches every couple seasons expecting them to turn it around right away. Look at their most successful rivals in the division, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The reason they are successful is because their front office knows it takes time to build a Super Bowl team, and they didn’t fire coaches left and right just because the season ended badly.
Jimmy stated in his apology that he wants to keep the focus on football, and while that should be the case this won’t be overlooked. This is too big of a scam to just slip through the cracks and make people forget about it. If he truly wants to stop detracting from the football team, then stepping down would be the right move and should be done asap. He can assign a temporary owner until this blows over, in which may be a while so they will be better off with a brand new owner who shares the same vision as Jimmy Haslam.
Mike Presley is a Division Leader for The Penalty Flag. He hosts “The Front Seven Podcast” on Youtube. Mike writes for the racing website www.hardcoreracefans.com during the NASCAR Season. Mike can be contacted on Twitter @mikepresley64 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.