SBD/August 2, 2013/Franchises

Goodell Throws Support Behind Browns Owner Haslam Amid Trucking Company Scandal

Haslam is reportedly still viewed favorably by his fellow NFL owners
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday was at Browns training camp, and he "pledged his support" for team Owner Jimmy Haslam III in the wake of his rebate fraud scandal at Pilot Flying J, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Goodell said, "Jimmy Haslam is a man of great integrity. We're proud to have him as an owner in the NFL and think he's going to be a great owner for the Cleveland Browns and their fans here. He's as disappointed as anybody in what happened at Pilot J and he's working hard to fix it and correct those issues." Goodell added that other NFL team owner still view Haslam "favorably." Goodell noted that the NFL "didn't cut corners on the vetting process" when approving Haslam's ownership of the Browns due to his standing as a minority owner in the Steelers. Goodell: "When you’re going through a controlling ownership position, that’s a big step up so we don’t just pass that off. We do the same vetting process." Goodell said that he "has not been in direct contact with the FBI and declined speculation if Haslam is indicted." He said of the investigation's impact on the Browns, "I don't believe it's distracting anybody in that building, and that's what really matters at the end of the day" (, 8/1). However, in Akron, Nate Ulrich noted Goodell "conceded the scandal is not ideal for the Browns or the league." Goodell: “You never want to see this kind of thing happen, particularly to a partner in the league. So obviously his partners care a great deal about him, and as a partner they want to see him getting off to a good start. This is not what anybody intended, not anybody anticipated, but he’s a man that I think everyone truly respects in the NFL" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/2).
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