Browns fans in recent years have craved stability and continuity. And just when they thought they had it via the purchase of the team by former Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslam, Browns fans now have to worry about a civil and criminal legal morass that could threaten Haslam’s ability to keep the team.
CEO Joe Banner believes those concerns are unfounded.
“I don’t see that scenario,” Banner said.
While the likelihood of the scenario currently is unknown, Banner should at least see it as one possible outcome — if Haslam is indicted and ultimately convicted of federal fraud charges.
Again, we don’t know the percentage chance of that happening is, but it’s at least on the radar screen. How can’t it be?
And how can Haslam continue to own the team if he’s wearing not an orange sweater but an orange jumpsuit?
We don’t fault Banner for being optimistic, and for trying to get the fans to not worry. But the moment the FBI and IRS showed up at Pilot Flying J headquarters with search warrants, it was time for Browns fans to start worrying.
They should continue to worry until the dominoes fall in a way that allows Haslam to remain among the free — and that leaves him with the financial wherewithal to continue to own an NFL team.