Before the flood of rumors, reports and last-minute smokescreens leading up to tomorrow's big day, perhaps you're looking to read about something other than the NFL draft. Perhaps not. In either case, here's the latest on the Haslam situation.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on Tuesday amid the federal investigation into his family truck stop business, Pilot Flying J, regarding potential fraud involving "manual rebates."
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote the following as Goodell spoke briefly about the case:
As part of the league's pre-draft festivities, Goodell addressed the media today during an NFL Play 60 youth football clinic in New York. Goodell was asked if he's concerned about the investigation involving Haslam.
"Well, of course, when you have that type of thing, but I’ve spoken with Jimmy several times and met with him," Goodell said. "Jimmy is doing everything he’s asked. He’s cooperating. He wants to make sure that he is doing all of the right things in that regard and he has assured us that he is going to."
Not surprisingly, the league was unaware of the ongoing fraud investigation as they vetted Haslam for potential ownership of an NFL franchise. This case slipped through cracks of an otherwise extensive process, which is understandable considering FBI policy.
"It’s an investigation and it was held very tightly by the FBI and the authorities," Goodell said. "They didn’t share this information with us and they shouldn’t. That’s something that is their prerogative."
Editor's note: If you're unfamiliar with the specifics of the federal investigation into Pilot Flying J and how it directly relates to Haslam, be sure to read Matt Wood's excellent breakdown of the 158-page FBI document. Haslam has also since held a couple of press conferences, which you can listen to here (April 22) and here (April 19).