Storm Clouds Gather NFL Draft

Allegations that teams purposely lost for top draft picks.

The National Football League and NFL fans are getting ready for a three-day celebration of what normally would be an illegal business practice, holding a draft of players, that is made legal by a collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players in the league. It is a strange thing to celebrate, an activity that limits a person’s ability to find a place of work where that person wants to work but that is not a problem for the NFL or its fans. What is a problem is allegations by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores that he was offered money, $100,000 per defeat by the Miami owner Stephen Ross during the 2019 season so that the team would be in the running for the top pick in the draft. There is also an allegation by the former coach of Jimmy Haslam’s Cleveland Browns franchise, Hue Jackson, who said that when players didn’t perform well, there was a “plan” that benefited certain people because, he claimed, the Browns wanted to lose.

The NFL has announced that former the Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White is leading an independent probe into allegations made by Jackson in February. “The review is ongoing and is expected to conclude soon.” Haslam’s Browns business is welcoming White’s investigation. The team released a statement. “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.” White is also heading the investigation of the Miami Dolphins organization. The investigations won’t stop the draft partying.

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Brian Flores