NFL Finds No Proof That Browns Paid Hue Jackson To Lose Games

The NFL said it was unable to substantiate claims made by former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson that the team provided incentives as part of a plan to lose deliberately games to improve their position in the coming years.

Former US Attorney Mary Jo White led the league’s look into claims, reviewing thousands of pages of documents including emails and internal memos related to the team’s four-year plan to revitalize the club, which overlapped with Jackson’s two-year stint as head coach. 2016 and 2017.

“The investigation found no evidence to suggest that the Browns’ Four-Year Plan or the club’s ownership or football personnel lost or incentivized losses and made no decisions deliberately to weaken the team to secure a more favorable draft position,” the league said in a statement.

Jackson did not speak to White and other investigators as part of the review, the league said, but White’s team also reviewed filings and testimony from Jackson and the Browns. White also interviewed Browns owner Jimmy Haslam as well as current and former members of the team.

Jackson didn’t return a call for comment about the league’s findings.

In early February, Jackson said he received bonuses that reached $ 750,000 as part of the team’s plan to lose games and improve the Browns’ draft of the following year. Under Jackson’s leadership, the Browns won just one game in 2016 and none in 2017. He was fired after eight games in 2018, when the team’s record was 2-5-1.

Jackson made the claims just days after Brian Flores, who had recently been fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, filed a lawsuit in federal court that alleged other clubs gave him vacant positions for “sham interviews” they knew would give him white. coaches. Flores’ suit said the practice was part of leaguewide discrimination against black coaches in their hiring practices.

In that filing, Flores also admitted that Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, offered to pay him $ 100,000 for every game he lost while he was the head coach of the team.

Ross has denied the allegations.

On Monday, attorneys representing Flores and two other Black NFL coaches who joined the suit, Ray Horton and Steve Wilks, appeared in a pretrial conference for New York federal court defending the NFL, which included Loretta Lynch, a former US Attorney General.

Lynch and the NFL’s legal team have argued that plaintiffs’ claims should be sent to closed-door arbitration, and have until June 21 to file a motion to compel arbitration. Flores’ attorneys are fighting for the case in open court.

The plaintiffs also seek to begin a limited search around NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s carriages that should eliminate him as a potential arbitrator. They cited Goodell’s employment status – defending Flores ‘claims against 32 teams and paying his salary – as well as the league’s statement immediately after the lawsuit was filed in which it said Flores’ claims were “without merit.”

The judge hearing the conference deferred on a decision that limited discovery could take place until after the NFL files compiled its motion. The plaintiffs will have until July 22 to respond to the league’s motion, but that timeline could be extended if they allow the judge to limit discovery around Goodell’s role.

Flores’ attorneys told the judge they would be open to attending a settlement conference, but the NFL declined, saying it was confident the arbitration process would be neutral.

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