As we were all learning of the bombing in Boston, news broke of the FBI “locking down” the corporate headquarters for Pilot Flying J down in Knoxville. Some initially wondered if the two events were even related. Quickly we heard three additional letters added to the story about the FBI when we found out they were acting in concert with the IRS. Even before we heard about the IRS, it occurred to me rather quickly that the FBI raiding a company on tax day is probably not ironic as much as it is intentionally symbolic.
What does any of this have to do with the Browns? We certainly don’t know yet, but I can’t help but think back to February when Jimmy Haslam returned to the helm of Pilot Flying J a mere five months after John Compton’s name was announced and a mere month and a half after he officially started as CEO. It certainly lends new eyebrow-raising intrigue to a specific statement about Compton’s feelings following the removal.
Haslam indicated Monday that Compton was comfortable with the latest shift in responsibilities. “John and I’ve had really positive conversations and I think we both feel good about the positions that we’re both returning to or going to,” he said.
While it’s not safe to assume anything, it seems pretty logical to suspect that maybe Compton’s departure might align with Pilot Flying J learning that they were under investigation. It is reasonable to suspect that maybe Compton really was extremely “comfortable” with the latest shift that wouldn’t see him guiding the company through some pending legal issues that he had no part in creating.
All this is just speculation. There will be real details forthcoming and I hope for the sake of Browns fans that it really is nothing major that could find its way to rolling downhill to Berea. Regardless of how you feel about Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family business in Knoxville, one thing remains. Browns fans don’t deserve to be victims of a situation that has nothing to do with football as all they want to do is watch a football team win football games.
Here’s hoping the NFL’s vetting process was thorough and good and that it will be no distraction to the goals and focus of those trying to build a winner in Berea.