The NFL announced that it could not substantiate the claims made by former Browns coach Hue Jackson that the front office incentivized him to lose games during his time with the franchise, the league said in a release on Monday.
The NFL revealed its findings after former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP conducted a 60-day independent review. According to the league’s statement, Cleveland and owner Jimmy Haslem provided their full cooperation with the investigation.
“The investigation found no evidence to suggest that the Browns’ Four-Year Plan or the club’s ownership of football personnel sought to lose or incentivized losses and made no decisions deliberately to weaken the team to secure a more favorable draft position,” the release said.
Jackson did not meet with investigators, despite initially agreeing to do so, according to the release.
“Although unable to speak directly to Coach Jackson, the Debevoise team had access to his public statement and to his filings and testimony in a prior arbitration proceeding,” the league said. “The club also produced thousands of pages of documents, including emails, texts, internal memos and presentation decks as well as other material relating to club operations and the filings and testimony in the arbitration proceeding between the club and Coach Jackson.”
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Jackson, who coached in Cleveland from 2016 to ’18, said in February that the team provided him with incentives for losing games during the 2016 and ’17 seasons. The allegations came after ex-Dolphins head coach Brian Flores claimed that he was offered $100,000 per loss by owner Stephen Ross during the 2019 season.
The league confirmed that it had opened an investigation into Jackson’s allegations in April.
Jackson served as the Browns’ coach when the team compiled a 1–15 record in ’16, followed by a 0–16 mark in ’17. He was fired in October 2018 after starting his third season 2-5-1.
Jackson is currently in his first year as the head coach at Grambling State.
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