As the Cleveland Browns prepare to start Training Camp it looks like one of their off the field sagas is coming to an end. Yes Johnny Manziel will probably tone down his off the field fun very soon. Yes we expect some decision on Josh Gordon‘s future, specifically for this season, soon as well. But that is not the saga that looks to be coming to an end (A ton of drama for one team huh?). Jimmy Haslam and his company Pilot/Flying J are reportedly in “Agreement” with the FBI to resolve the issues that have haunted the company since last year.
You will remember that the FBI raided his companies headquarters the same day of the Boston Marathon bombing. At first there was some concern that the two events were connected as no information came out from Tennessee during the lockdown. Since then we have learned that Haslam’s company had been practicing poor business practices to get more money out of trucking companies from their “Rebate” system.
Since then the company has done its best to come to agreements with the companies directly impacted by the fraudulent system and seem to have completed that process. Yet at the same time many of the executives, but not Haslam himself, had their day in court and were sentenced for their part. The last remaining pieces remained Haslam himself and the company in general. Today’s report seems to say that Haslam and his company are off the hook from the legal side of things.
Current reports are that the company will have to pay close to $100 million dollars over a two year period and cooperate with the investigation. The “understanding” seems to mean that Haslam won’t be prosecuted for any possible involvement and the Browns owner can now move on. If you have seen “Wolf of Wall Street” or even “American Hustle” you understand that this is often how things work. (Those are not movie recommendations by the way.)
For the Browns this is very important. While this would be true for any team, the Browns in particular are set up in a way that the owner’s responsibilities are vital. Head Coach Mike Pettine reports directly to Haslam, as does GM Ray Farmer and CEO Alec Scheiner. Any time away from the team for a trial or worse yet prison time would of caused a disturbance in the chain of command.
What do you think of the whole ordeal now that this saga seems to be coming to an end?