Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The question Haslam needs to answer
By Jamison Hensley
To his credit, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam hasn't gone into hiding. He has repeatedly stepped in front of cameras and said all of the right things.
It was the same way Tuesday night when he once again apologized to Browns fans and vowed to give every trucking company the money they are owed.
"We feel badly about it and we're very comfortable we'll work through this situation," Haslam told reporters after a scholar-athlete banquet.
Haslam declined to take questions, but there's one that he'll eventually have to answer. Will he still have the financial resources to keep the Browns?
This goes beyond whether Haslam is proven guilty in the federal investigation of Pilot Flying J, his national truck-stop business. When it comes to owning an NFL team, you need the resources to do it. Several civil lawsuits have already been filed against the company, which could result in severe financial damages. The public-relations hit from the FBI probe could endanger the livelihood of the family-run company, and as a result, hurt Haslam's cash flow.
Haslam, who has owned the Browns for nine months, continues to talk about the bright future of the team, albeit with tempered expectations.
"I think we'll have a better football team this year," Haslam said. "[But] we're going to do this the right way. It's not going to happen overnight. You don't go from winning 14 games in three years to winning 14 games in one year. But we will have a better team this year and we'll be better in 2014."
Whether Haslam will part of that future remains to be seen.