NFL says review finds ‘no evidence’ of ex-Browns coach’s tanking allegations
The NFL said Monday that it has found “no evidence” to back the claims of former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who accused the team of paying him to purposely lose contests.
In a statement, the league said former Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White and a team of attorneys from the Debevoise firm declared they could substantiate any of Jackson’s claims.
In a tweet in February, Kimberly Diemert, the executive director of the coach’s foundation, claimed that the Browns offered him bonus pay to lose games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Diemert then told ESPN in a phone interview that Jackson’s claim is “well documented” and previously had been “presented to the league.”
Jackson posted an infamous 1-31 win-loss record in his first two seasons as head coach of the Browns, which included becoming the third NFL franchise to post a winless season, finishing 0-16 in 2017.
Jackson, who was hired to be the head coach of Grambling State University in December, was fired by the Browns midway through the 2018 season.
“The investigation found no evidence to suggest that the Browns’ Four-Year Plan or the club’s ownership or football personnel sought to lose or incentivized losses and made no decisions deliberately to weaken the team to secure a more favorable draft position,” the league said in its statement.
“The comprehensive review included the full cooperation of the Browns and interviews with Jimmy Haslam and current and former members of the organization,” the league added. “While Coach Jackson initially agreed to meet with the investigators, he ultimately did not do so.”
The league noted that its attorneys had access to Jackson’s public statements, filings and testimonies in a previous arbitration proceeding, adding that the Browns also provided evidence.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams — the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos — alleging race discrimination in its hiring practices.
In his 58-page lawsuit, Flores also alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to pay him more to purposely lose games during the 2019 season, with Ross offering him $100,000 for every loss that year.
Recently, fellow NFL head coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, who are Black, joined Flores’s lawsuit against the league last month.
According to ESPN, league attorney and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked a federal judge on Monday for the case against Flores to be moved into arbitration due to the terms of employment agreements.