CLEVELAND (WJW)– The NFL completed its review into now-recanted statements by former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson that he was paid to tank.
The league said its investigation team found no evidence to support his claims.
Jackson made a series of allegations on Twitter in February following a lawsuit from former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores. Flores accused the Dolphins, Broncos and Giants of racial hiring practices, and said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season to get a better position in the draft.
In response to a tweet about being paid to tank, Jackson said, “Well, Jimmy Haslam, was happy while we kept losing.” When a Browns fan insinuated Cleveland’s ownership wasn’t paying $100,000 per loss, Jackson responded, “Trust me it was a good number!”
A Browns spokesperson released the following statement on Monday:
“We appreciate the independent investigation led by Mary Jo White and the Debevoise team which brings closure to these allegations that Hue Jackson publicly recanted shortly after they were made and that we’ve known all along are categorically false. As we’ve previously stated, we welcomed this investigation because the integrity of our game is something that should not be taken lightly and an independent review was crucial in bringing a conclusion to this matter.”
The NFL’s full statement:
“Following a 60-day independent review into the comments made by former Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson that the Browns paid or otherwise provided incentives to lose games during the 2016-17 seasons, former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers from the Debevoise firm determined none of the allegations could be substantiated.
“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 comprehension review including the full cooperation of the Browns and interview with Jimmy Haslam and current and former members of the organization. While Coach Jackson initially agreed to meet with investigators, he ultimately did not do so.
“Although unable to speak directly to Coach Jackson, the Debevoise team had access to his public statements and to his filings and testimony in a prior arbitration proceeding. The club also produced thousands of pages of documents, including emails, tests, internal memos and presentation desks as well as other materials relating to the club operations and the filings and testimony in the arbitration proceeding between the club and Coach Jackson.”
Jackson, now the coach of the Grambling State Tigers, spent a little more than two seasons as coach of the Browns and famously went 3-36-1 before he was fired in 2018.