The Cleveland Browns had the No. 1 overall selection if both the 2017 and 2018 NFL Draft , but did the organization resort to unsportsmanlike strategies to worm its way to those coveted picks? That’s the overriding question dominating the latest NFL Cleveland Browns news.
The league has opened an investigation into the Cleveland Browns following Hue Jackson’s claims of being incentivized to lose games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons while he was the head coach.
As per Sports Illustrated, Mary Jo White, former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is leading the independent probe into Jackson’s inflammatory claims.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed recently that the league turned to the former SEC chair Mary Jo White back in February to investigate Jackson’s allegations against the Cleveland Browns.
Jackson’s Tanking Allegations
Jackson’s claims followed those made by disgruntled ex-Miami Dophins head coach Brian Flores, who levied similar NFL tanking allegations against his former team. Flores was fired at the end of the 2021 NFL season, despite Miami’s modest 9-8-0 finish.
Flores launched a lawsuit against the NFL in the offseason, claiming a culture of institutional racisim existed in the interview and selection process. That was behind his failure to secure another head coaching job, although there were plenty up for grabs.
However, a part of his litigation also includes claims that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, attempted to bribe Flores into “tanking” games.
Jackson took to Twitter in the days after Flores and aired his grievances. His statements are at the crux of this inflammatory NFL Cleveland Browns news story. He claimed team owner Jimmy Haslam was “happy while we kept losing” and offered “a good number” to lose games.
The executive director of the Hue Jackson Foundation, Kimberly Diemert, supported Jackson’s statements with a damming tweet that clearly stated supporting records existed and “@nflcommish knew about this and covered it up.”
In response to the breaking NFL news at the time, Cleveland released a statement calling Jackson’s accusations “completely fabricated.” But the damage was already done. The league is duty bound to launch an investigation into those seasons and their impact on the NFL Draft for the Cleveland Browns.
Tanking in the NFL
Tanking is the proverbial elephant in the room. It’s an open secret, often brushed aside in the NFL.
Hue Jackson talks more about the Browns than Grambling State, where he’s currently employed.
It’s really getting sad. https://t.co/I4HbDU7H5d
— Nick Pedone (@NickPedone12) April 24, 2022
The NBA and NHL have implemented the draft lottery in order to tackle this prevalent problem, while other major sports are looking at ways to deal with the issue. Only the NFL appears to be looking the other way.
The Browns combined for a woeful 1-31-0 record over the two-year stretch in question. On the heels of each season, the Browns had the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft in 2017 and 2018.
The Cleveland Browns’ draft picks in those years were defensive end Myles Garrett (2017) and quarterback Baker Mayfield (2018).
Browns Welcome Probe
The Cleveland Browns are adamant about the fact that there’s nothing to see here, but they welcome the probe and are confident that its findings will clear them of any wrongdoing.
On April 18, the team issued a statement in response to the breaking NFL Cleveland Browns news, in which it said that “we welcomed an investigation” and that they are “confident the results will show, as we’ve previously stated, that these allegations are categorically false.”
#NFL is investigating Hue Jackson’s claims #Browns tanked 2016 and 2017 season. Mary Jo White is leading the league’s probe. Statement from team spokesperson regarding the probe: pic.twitter.com/cgIvn0EMTn
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) April 18, 2022
Cleveland Browns 2022 NFL Draft
The Cleveland Browns didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft as a result of their trade with the Houston Texans for controversial quarterback, Deshaun Watson. In fact, they mortgaged their future for Watson as they are without a first round pick until the 2025 NFL draft!
The Browns traded their lone second-round pick and wound up with three selections in the third round. They took cornerback Martin Emerson (Mississippi State) at No. 68, defensive end Alex Wright (UAB) at 78 and wide receiver David Bell (Purdue) with the 99th selection.Follow us on Twitter