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Jimmy Haslam apologizes to Browns fans

Jimmy Haslam Getty Images

Embattled Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, whose “first love” family-owned business currently is embroiled in a significant federal investigation, isn’t hiding under the bed.  To his credit, Haslam showed up Tuesday night for the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s 25th annual scholar-athlete banquet.

According to the Associated Press, Haslam expressed regret for the situation involving Pilot Flying J, a national truck-stop company that allegedly shortchanged rebates and discounts owed to trucking-company customers deemed to unsophisticated to notice.

“I apologize to the City of Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio and all Browns fans because the last thing we ever wanted to do as a new owner was detract from football and the Browns and just what a great football area this is, and so I apologize for that,” Haslam said.  “We feel badly about it and we’re very comfortable we’ll work through this situation.”

Haslam answered no questions from the media, which wanted to know among other things what Haslam knew about allegedly fraudulent practices.  His refusal to answer inquiries means he’s being advised by lawyers to not speak extemporaneously on the situation — and that he’s heeding the advice.

Still, the company’s strategy includes paying money to customers who are owed it, which could be interpreted as an implicit admission that the company was in the wrong.

“The important thing is to get it right,” Haslam said.  “I’d like to get it wrapped up by the end of the month, but if it takes until early June, early July, we’re going to get the numbers right and if we owe X, Y, Z trucking company, we’ll write them a check on the spot.”

The criminal investigation surely will take much longer, as will the civil lawsuits filed in the wake of the release of a 120-page affidavit containing detailed evidence of secretly-recorded meetings and conversations suggesting that wrongdoing occurred.

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32 Responses to “Jimmy Haslam apologizes to Browns fans”
  1. pathsovglory says: May 7, 2013 10:27 PM

    First Art Modell now this…

    man, you really got to feel for the Browns fanbase

  2. cmich2006 says: May 7, 2013 10:29 PM

    So basically he expects to write a check and get himself out of this. Because he’s a member of the good old boys club the nfl will do nothing about him. He will continue to own the team business as usual.

  3. bigmarsh57 says: May 7, 2013 10:31 PM

    Looks like Titus Young has a landing spot.

  4. noeffinway says: May 7, 2013 10:37 PM

    “extemporaneously”……..nice word

  5. jimboinbigd says: May 7, 2013 10:40 PM

    Flying J? More like Flying BS.

  6. mrsryansfamoustoejam says: May 7, 2013 10:44 PM

    Sorry Jimmy, it’s too late to simply write some checks for what is owed. The feds and plaintiffs attorneys are on you arse now. I hope you kept enough held back in Caymans to cover you from now on. The rest is gone.

  7. vontazemebro says: May 7, 2013 10:53 PM

    Browns fans don’t deserve this. One way to get rid of an unwanted owner is to not go to games and not buy anything team related. Maybe that’s the call for some folks.

  8. wojlos says: May 7, 2013 10:56 PM

    Apology accepted….just make us a winner again

  9. logisticalvoices says: May 7, 2013 10:57 PM

    Look on the bright side Browns fans: at least you don’t have Dan Snyder as an owner.

    Redskins trolls can go hide under their bridge for the remainder of the evening.

  10. bigdawgy54 says: May 7, 2013 11:05 PM

    The “already proven” cheating billionaire is trying to buy and talk his way out of the crookedness he and his company propagated! Jimmy, I don’t want to hear it!
    You and your company cheated the poor folks trying to recover from Hurricanes Ike and Katrina, too. You just think more money and another apology is good enough for you to move on to your next cheating idea.
    Fuel your plane and fly back to Tennessee, “permanently!” Cleveland deserves an owner with much more honesty and integrity than what you possess!

  11. lakermetskins says: May 7, 2013 11:07 PM

    No apology needed Jimmy. We expect terrible things to happen here in Loserville USA.

  12. nnagi says: May 7, 2013 11:15 PM

    I’m pretty sure the FBI and IRS will have more input on how this is going to be handled than Jimmy Haslem…it’s not going to be as simple as writing a check on the spot to the X,Y,Z Company…

  13. rajbais says: May 7, 2013 11:21 PM

    He should also apologize for taking Barkevious Mingo over Chance Warmack.

  14. steelerberd says: May 7, 2013 11:25 PM

    He should apologize for the crappy draft they put out. Another Browns owner = more losing seasons. The FBI should go after him for charging Flying J customers $1.50 for air to fill up your tires. That is high way robbery. The guy is a thief, He over charges for air, Over charges for bad football, scams hillbillies out of rebates they look forward to, etc……….

  15. seaeagle707 says: May 7, 2013 11:35 PM

    Mr. Haslam, you want good press to stifle all of that fed investigation talk? Do you want to walk tall with your head held high? Do you want to elevate the Browns to new heights of football excellence? Well sir, there’s one thing you can do to make all of the above a reality, and get your halo polished at the same time.

    Hire Tim Tebow.

  16. crumpledstiltskin says: May 7, 2013 11:39 PM

    Ha. Chance Warmack was not even the best guard in the draft. Furthermore, teams picking in the top 10 arent there cause they are missing that top guard.

  17. camarothndr says: May 7, 2013 11:48 PM

    If you aren’t cheating, you just arent trying hard enough, GO Browns

  18. artworkworld says: May 8, 2013 12:25 AM

    The creepiest thing about this guy to me is his use of the royal “we.” I have noticed this several times & it is really weird.

  19. greggfletch1 says: May 8, 2013 1:03 AM

    WOW, you guys are mad because he is writing checks out the arse to make this right. What about Fannie May or AIG. Those guys got bonuses. At the very least you should be happy the guy whether he knew or not is trying to make it right. Get over youself and realize at the very least the billionare owner you have is trying and paying to make it right.

  20. thepatrickcharles says: May 8, 2013 5:20 AM

    I like that you use a word like “extemporaneously” and meanwhile use the wrong “too” on “…deemed to unsophisticated to notice.”

  21. washstnative says: May 8, 2013 6:16 AM

    Maybe he should write a rebate check to all of the Browns ticket holders… You guys are the ones that deserve it.

  22. rockthered1286 says: May 8, 2013 6:42 AM

    He shouldn’t be apologizing at all. This is the most media coverage the Browns have seen since 1995. Browns fans should be thanking him.

  23. ctreider18 says: May 8, 2013 6:45 AM

    It’s loud mouth new york lawyers like you “mike” that are ruining this sport. Still, the company’s strategy includes paying money to customers who are owed it, which could be interpreted as an implicit admission that the company was in the wrong. Go bug a an anti casino american, or d snyder.

  24. bltimmons says: May 8, 2013 7:17 AM

    This guy is in deep and I don’t think the FBI is going to let it go because he wrote a few checks. I do find it interesting and sad that he screwed people out of millions, probably cost a few jobs in the process and all the Cleveland fans are worried about is becoming “winners” again and getting the best bang for their entertainment dollar. Your owner is a rich loser and a crook (see: Jerry Jones), you do the math.

  25. denverdude7 says: May 8, 2013 8:06 AM

    How many small trucking companies were put out of business at least in part by Flying Pilot J’s actions? How many people lost their jobs and homes?

    This man should have known what was happening in HIS company.

    Sleazeballs like Haslam don’t deserve to own a franchise with such a rich blue-collar history like the Browns.

    Mr. Goodell should be taking steps to strip this man of his ownership. Yes, even before a trial takes place.

    Another bleak chapter in the continuing saga of the Factory of Sadness.

  26. browns627 says: May 8, 2013 9:12 AM

    if you rip on this guy just remember how many bank executives took millions and never apologized or did anything to make things right… this man has found a wrong and during a federal investigation when 99% of people that go through this type of thing usually hide and file bankruptcy or sell the business jimmy is showing there was wrong doing and making it right…. for those under 40 yrs old that dont know what integrity looks like, you’re seeing it first hand today.

  27. bjtmeyer says: May 8, 2013 9:30 AM

    Shouldn’t we all know by now that people with lots of money have issues?

  28. bltimmons says: May 8, 2013 10:25 AM

    ~browns627 — you might want to read the entire story as it continues to unfold. There are recordings of this crook giving instructions on how to screw trucking companies out of money due to their lack of sophistication. There’s no integrity there, but plenty of criminal activity. The FBI is just starting their investigation and the lawsuits are growing. Your criminal owner is going down and I hope he can spread his integrity across the prison yard.

  29. pkoh15 says: May 8, 2013 12:48 PM

    Part of actual transcript from The Browns Owner…. We had heard it had something to do with rebates we paid to trucking companies. On April 18, four days later, they released their affidavit that they used to get a search warrant. In it, I guess it was good news and bad news. The good news was, we understood what the issue was. The bad news, and it was really sickening to me, candidly, was the apparent behavior of some of our sales people; behavior that’s not characteristic of how the 20,000 employees of PFJ (Pilot Flying J) act and behave towards anyone. We don’t talk that way. We don’t act that way. Candidly, it was behavior that was particularly improper towards customers. It came out Thursday afternoon, I read it Thursday night and was literally almost sick to my stomach, candidly. Number one it was embarrassing and number two it’s not how we act.

  30. pkoh15 says: May 8, 2013 1:46 PM

    I urge all of you to read the full transcript of Haslams statement (It is on the browns official website) then form an opinion. He did not answer questions because nobody asked him questions. From the start he asked politely that the media do not ask any questions because he knows no more than what everyone else knows.

  31. borophyll says: May 8, 2013 3:08 PM

    Stuff your sorrys in a sack, mister. Just win and don’t embarrass us, that’s all we ask.

    Hell, one out of two is fine with us also.

  32. steelers330 says: May 8, 2013 3:10 PM

    Wow…pkoh…actually does make me think when I read the whole thing…. Still tho, it is he says, she says at this point. We should all withhold judgement until all the facts are out there and this thing is finished. No matter how bad I want to sink my teeth into this and rub it into browns fans faces…my morals tell me otherwise…hope everything works out cuz Steelers-Browns was, in my opinion, the best NFL rivalry…I’d like to see it get back to that…go steelers

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