Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam apologizes to fans after Pilot Flying J scandal

USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam apologized to fans of the team on Tuesday for taking the focus off of the team following the Pilot Flying J scandal.

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam spoke with the media on Tuesday, marking the first time he's done so since the FBI got involved at the headquarters of his family business last month. Haslam is the CEO of Pilot Flying J, which was raided by federal agents on April 15. The FBI's allegations were that members of Pilot's sales team deliberately withheld rebates to boost profits.

Obviously, not much regarding that investigation was going to be talked about by Haslam on Tuesday, but he did have some words for fans of the Browns. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal had a series of tweets in which he transcribed Haslam's statement.

"I apologize to the city of Cleveland, Northeastern Ohio and all Browns fans because the last thing we ever wanted to do, as a new owner, was detract from football and the Browns and just what a great football area this is," Haslam said. "And so I apologize for that. We feel badly about it and we're very comfortable we'll work through this situation."

While the Pilot Flying J investigation hasn't seemed to affect the Browns directly, it's a good move for Haslam to come out and apologize for any negative attention this has caused. In another tweet from Ulrich, Haslam says that he's "very embarrassed" by the scandal.

The Browns, to their credit, have had a pretty good offseason to this point. They landed Barkevious Mingo, the defensive end out of LSU, in the first round. Some feel that Mingo was a reach that early given a relatively down year in 2012, but few argue with his upside. In free agency, they landed Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, two of the top defensive players on the market.

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