As new Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam watches and waits while the FBI and IRS continue to investigate his company, Pilot Flying J Headquarters, the question remains as to whether he’ll be able to withstand potential criminal charges for fraud, and keep ownership of the team he bought less than a year ago.
Don Banks of SI.com reports that, according to league and team sources, it’s unlikely that Haslam will lose ownership of the Browns due to the ongoing investigation:
But in this case, even if it is a sobering federal case that included the FBI raiding the Knoxville-based corporate offices of the Haslam family truck-stop chain, the here-we-go-again lament might be a bit premature for the Browns and their long-suffering fan base. We’re always one news cycle away from the narrative changing in today’s NFL, but for now there’s no real sense the sky is falling in Cleveland and that Haslam’s legal troubles will seriously imperil his ownership and completely snuff out the optimism his presence brought to town, almost before it has a chance to truly take root.
Banks also wrote “the idea of Haslam having to change his long-term status in team ownership in reaction to the fraud case seems unlikely. There’s a long way to go in the Haslam case, but for once, the Browns might just steer clear of the worst-case scenario.”
I would actually argue the “worst-case scenario” could be far from over. If he allowed fraudulent activity to occur so blatantly under his watch at Pilot Flying J, why should we believe he can properly run and manage an NFL franchise? Perhaps, the best scenario for the Browns is for Haslam to lose ownership and it be transfected to someone more responsible and capable of running an NFL franchise. Just my 2 cents.
And courtesy of NFLMocks.com, here it is the updated list of the AFC North teams and their NFL Draft reviews for 2013