Now my favorite football team will be owned by the brother of a Republican Governor who also runs an incredibly successful business and donates to Republican candidates. Can it get any better? Pilot Flying J CEO James “Jimmy” Haslam is set to own the team, per ESPN:
NFL ownership is expected to approve Haslam’s purchase at its October meeting. Commissioner Roger Goodell could expedite the process by calling a special meeting, although that is considered unlikely.
The NFL helped bring Haslam to Lerner so that a sale could be completed smoothly, efficiently and with a high probability of success. Haslam had informed the league how much he wanted to buy a team, and Lerner — who is more interested in his soccer team (Aston Villa in England) — was interested in selling the Browns.
Paperwork between the two sides was completed Thursday morning.
Haslam is president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America with more than 550 retail locations. He is the older brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who also worked for the family business before he was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and again in 2007, then governor in 2010.
The only downside of Jimmy Haslam is that he also owns a chunk of the Pittsburgh Steelers and referred to himself as a “1000% Steelers fan”. I imagine that will be changing quite a bit with his purchase of the Steelers rival from Ohio, although recently my Browns haven’t put up much of a fight. I’m pre-inclined to like the new ownership, so I’m sure Haslam will quickly do something stupid to sour me on him, as is tradition with Cleveland team owners.