Wednesday, July 6, 2022

NFL concludes that Hue Jackson’s tanking allegations against Browns cannot be substantiated

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

None of Hue Jackson’s tanking allegations against the Cleveland Browns could be substantiated, the NFL announced in a statement Monday

After a 60-day independent review of the comments made by the former Browns head coach, the investigation announced there was “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 investigation included the full cooperation of the Browns, which included interviews with owner Jimmy Haslam along with current and former members of the organization. The Debevoise team of lawyers (who conducted the investigation) did not speak to Jackson, but they had access to his public statements and to his filings and testimony in a prior arbitration proceeding. According to the statement, the Browns produced thousands of pages of documents, including emails, texts, and internal memos along with other material relating to club operations. 

The Browns released a statement in February about Jackson’s allegations:

“The recent comments by Hue Jackson and his representatives relating to his tenure as our head coach are completely fabricated. Any accusation that any member of our organization was incentivized to deliberately lose games is categorically false.”

Jackson finished just 3-36-1 with the Browns from 2016 to 2018, a winning percentage of .088. He was 1-31 after his first two seasons before getting fired in 2018 after Cleveland started 2-5-1. Jackson claimed the browns provided incentives to lose games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons when the franchise lost 31 of 32 games. Jackson responded to Twitter users who said his claims were false when he made the accusations, yet the NFL reached the same verdict.  

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