In the proposed class-action lawsuit Brian Flores filed against the NFL, one of the most explosive allegations was that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 to intentionally lose games to improve draft positioning. Flores may not have been the only one.
Former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson hinted that franchise owner Jimmy Haslam did the same.
Jackson, currently the head coach of Grambling State University, went on Twitter to voice his opinion and express support for Flores. When responding to a tweet that said Haslam wasn't offering Jackson $100,000 per loss, Jackson replied: "Trust me it was a good number!"
Jackson went 3-36-1 in two-and-a-half seasons with the Browns, including going 1-15 in his first season and 0-16 in his second. The Browns ended up with consecutive No. 1 draft picks in the 2017 and 2018 NFL drafts, taking defensive end Myles Garrett and quarterback Baker Mayfield, respectively, with those selections.
That was just one of several comments Jackson made about the claim and Flores' case in general. In another thread, Kimberly Diemert, listed as the executive director of the Hue Jackson Foundation, posted a tweet that said she had records that would help Flores' case. Diemert claimed that the Browns paid bonus money to Jackson and front office executives Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry to tank and claimed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league knew about it and covered it up.
In response to that comment, Jackson said he could "back up every word" he was saying.
"Dude if you knew the truth you would swallow everything in your mouth," Jackson continued. "Enough. Truth just starting to seep out of what really happens in the NFL. Trust me there are some great owners out there and there are some people you better dig deeper and see the truth."
In a statement, a Browns spokesperson denied the allegations Wednesday afternoon.
"The recent comments by Hue Jackson and his representatives relating to his tenure as our head coach are completely fabricated," the spokesperson said. "Any accusation that any member of our organization was incentivized to deliberately lose games is categorically false."
Diemert told the USA TODAY Network that she stood by her remarks.
“If anybody wants to verify whether or not those are my statements, they are absolutely my statements,” Diemert told Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal. “I stand behind them. They are verifiable. They are indisputable. If the Cleveland Browns organization or the NFL want to dispute them, tell them bring it on. It's there.”
When other Twitter users asked Jackson why he didn't say anything, he pushed back and said that he did.
"Nah, i didn’t stay quiet!" Jackson wrote. "Nobody wanted to listen. If i’m lying tell them to prove i am and then you guys can break the internet, but if its true are you just gonna keep dismissing this like everything else?"
Jackson, 56, has been out of the NFL since the middle of the 2018 season, after the Browns dismissed him.
Jackson appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" Wednesday evening and said he received end-of-season bonuses but didn't understand why.
"At the end of the year, there's money that's coming in, and, like I said, I didn't really understand it," Jackson said. "Here's this money in percentages based on what you did. That didn't make any sense to me, and I remember very candidly saying to Jimmy, 'I'm not interested in bonus money 'cause I've never known that to be a bonus.' I was interested in taking whatever that money was and putting it towards getting us more players on our football team because I didn't think we were very talented at all."
Jackson said there was "no chance" for the Browns to "win and win at a high level" in his first two seasons because of how they were built as part of a four-year plan crafted by the organization.
"I have documentation of that that I think any coach would kind of cringe at if he saw it because it talked about things that had nothing to do with winning — aggregate rankings, being the youngest team, having so many draft picks," Jackson said. "None of those things are what lead to winning."
Jackson said the plan "did not talk about winning and losing until year three and four."
Asked by "SportsCenter" anchor Elle Duncan whether he was explicitly approached by ownership or anyone in the front office to tank and that he would be incentivized for it, Jackson said, "What I was approached by was understanding what that four-year plan was."
Contributing: Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal