Sports business analyst: FBI probe into Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J has 'little impact' on Browns

CLEVELAND - The FBI investigation into Jimmy Haslam's company Pilot Flying J should have "little impact" on the Cleveland Browns, according to Jim Kadlacek, the chair of the department of human performance and sports business at the University of Mount Union.

"It's a separate issue that has nothing to do with the business of the NFL. And right now, he's not guilty of anything," Kadlacek said.

Kadlacek also said it's unlikely there would be a significant impact on the team if Haslam were indicted or convicted.

"I don't see any scenario where the league would step in and say ‘We're going to run this organization,'" he said.

Kadlacek said it's more likely a member of Haslam's family would take over the team.

"I'm sure there are things in place that if something were to happen to him, they would maintain ownership," he said.

The Sports Business Journal reported on Aug. 5 that there are plans for Jimmy Haslam's father to take over the team, if Haslam needs to step down as owner.

NewsChannel5 asked Haslam's spokesperson Tom Ingram about the report.

"Jimmy has no plans to step down so the question is irrelevant," Ingram said.

The NFL can fine, suspend and ban an owner from the NFL, if they are convicted of a crime.

During a visit to the Cleveland Browns training facilities in Berea on Aug. 1, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wouldn't discuss if or how he would punish an owner convicted of a crime.

"That's not the situation we're in," Goodell said.

Goodell made several statements in support of Haslam.

"He's a man of integrity, and this company has meant a lot to him and his family," Goodell said. "He's a man that I think everyone truly respects in the NFL."

Kadlacek said he believes Goodell would take it easy on Haslam.

"He wasn't betting on his team, he wasn't bribing officials, so he was doing nothing that impacted the integrity of the league," he said.

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