CLEVELAND — The NFL is investigating the Cleveland Browns, the team confirmed in a statement released Monday night following reports from the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated that the league was investigating claims the team tanked in 2016 and 2017. The league has spoken to the team and said it has cooperated fully, according to the Associated Press.
The NFL is investigating the Browns for tanking in 2016 and 2017. League has spoken to the team, which said it has cooperated fully.— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) April 18, 2022
On Monday night, the Browns provided this statement related to the tanking allegations made by former coach Hue Jackson:
"Even though Hue recanted his allegations a short time after they were made, it was important to us and to the integrity of the game to have an independent review of the allegations. We welcomed an investigation and we are confident the results will show, as we’ve previously stated, that these allegations are categorically false. We have fully cooperated with Mary Jo White and look forward to the findings.”
A Twitter account tied to Jackson claimed in February that the Browns paid bonuses for those leading the organization to tank in 2016 and 2017, following former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filing a lawsuit against the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants alleging discrimination in his interview processes and in his firing in January.
The Browns refuted Jackson's claims at that time, calling them "completely fabricated" and "categorically false."
Jackson later appeared on ESPN where he walked back his allegations and said that the team never explicitly paid him to lose games, but, rather, didn't fire him after two losing seasons when he believes they should have, which he believes was an incentive to lose.
RELATED: Browns refute claims that former HC Hue Jackson was incentivized to lose games
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