The Cleveland Browns were up for sale and a Steelers fan stepped in to take control of the team. Business is business and loyalties lie where the dollar sign resides. But, according to a Forbes article, Rodger Goodell is not so sure about this transaction.
According to Forbes, Goodell has sent a memo out to all 32 teams of the NFL expressing ‘concern over the buyer currently being an investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers.’ That buyer is James Haslam of the nationwide Flying J and Pilot stations. Haslam also happens to have 1 of 22 stakes in the Steelers Corporation. That’s a problem because the NFL won’t allow anyone have an investment in more than one team. The Steelers will have to buy Haslam’s share, and it will probably have to come from profits of the team. There are no details as to how much Haslma’s share in the team is and therefore how much the 21 other investors need to shell out.
All of this seems on the up and up, yet Goodell has issues with Haslam buying the team. Why? Is it because of his current share in the Steelers? Is it because he doesn’t want the Steelers to have to buy out Haslam’s share? Is it because he is worried about Haslam dispensing information about the Steelers to the Browns? I’m going to guess the first and last questions are at the top of Goodell’s concerns. I’m guessing he wants the stake in the Steelers to go away before any power over the Browns organization is granted to Haslam. I would believe that he is also concerned that Haslam could use any and all information – off the field operations and on – to benefit the Browns against not only the Steelers but also the rest of the AFC North. Now that wouldn’t be very fair now would it. And why wouldn’t Haslam use learned information to his and his new team’s advantage? He’s now charged to make this team better – wouldn’t you use any advantage you had… when millions of dollars are at stake?
With Goodell’s memo, it’s unclear if this deal will go through. The owners will vote on the validity of the Haslam transaction. If Goodell has swayed the masses, we could see a rejection on our hands.