After former Miami coach Brian Flores said he was offered $100,000 per loss in 2019 because Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, former Cleveland coach Hue Jackson suggested that he got a similar offer from Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. But now Jackson has backtracked.
Jackson initially started his backtrack earlier in the week, but on Friday night he stated clearly that Haslam never offered to pay him to lose games.
“No, I was never offered money like Brian had mentioned,” Jackson told CNN. “I think this is a totally different situation but has some similarities.”
Still, Jackson stands by his claim that Haslam wanted to lose, and that Jackson himself complained about Haslam’s plan at the time. Haslam also said Black coaches like himself and Flores have been thrown into situations where their owners weren’t trying to win.
“I told Jimmy that what he was doing was very destructive, to not do this because it’s going to hurt my career and every other coach that worked with me and every player on the team. And I told him that it would hurt every Black coach that would follow me. And I have the documents to prove this,” Jackson said.
Asked why he doesn’t produce those documents, Jackson responded, “Those things will come to light at the right time.”
The extent to which Flores and Jackson can prove their claims that Ross and Haslam were trying not to win may determine how hard the NFL — and possibly the legal system — crack down on them. But there’s no doubt that it’s the NFL’s own rules that incentivize teams to lose. If the NFL wants teams to play to win, it should stop rewarding teams that lose.