I made jokes about it a few weeks ago, and since that time I’ve also heard others jump on this same bandwagon, including Andy Baskin on the radio. Can someone tell me again why Jimmy Haslam isn’t officially officially the owner of this team? I don’t know what Jimmy Haslam would do that he wasn’t doing already, but it is pure lunacy to think that in this day and modern age that the NFL couldn’t at least get a fax agreement on the sale of the Browns to a guy who has already been a partial owner of one of the league’s most respected franchises.
Maybe it’s just another meaningless detail in a miserable season that was going to be miserable regardless, but the perception out here is that this team is as directionless (or moreso) than it has ever been at least partially because Jimmy Haslam isn’t the owner yet. If the entire organization wasn’t full of lame ducks before, now that the team is 0-5 it is appearing that the list of injured quackers is growing quickly.
And all Browns fans get for the privilege is to hear a billionaire with his hands tied saying that he won’t rush into personnel decisions. Maybe that’s the right call, and maybe he was going to go about his business that way all along, but to consider that the NFL put this team in limbo once again is just too much to take if you really think about it.
This is the same NFL that gave the Browns not nearly enough time or draft picks to jump back into the league for the 1999 season. I will always feel like the NFL has abused the extreme loyalty of the Cleveland Browns fans, both in moving the team and in the haphazard way the team was brought back. It’s far too long ago to still blame expansion for the way the Browns are today, and the NFL’s current stagnation with regard to Haslam isn’t anywhere near as big a deal, but it is reminiscent.
It’s reminiscent of another bad time and the NFL should conduct its business better and more efficiently today than they did back then. It wouldn’t take much. How about an email? A phone conference? You could even send out a physical mailer using the United States Postal Service. Bottom line is that in another awful year on the field, the NFL didn’t have to give Browns fans something to worry about off of it and render the team’s offices in Berea “in flux” at best.
Maybe they were too busy with the referee negotiations…
Jimmy Haslam Browns (Joshua Gunter/Plain Dealer)