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Cleveland Browns deny Hue Jackson was incentivized for losses when he was head coach

<i>Ezra Shaw/Getty Images</i><br/>The Cleveland Browns won only one game total in Hue Jackson's first two seasons.
Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Cleveland Browns won only one game total in Hue Jackson's first two seasons.

By Jacob Lev, CNN

The Cleveland Browns on Wednesday denied claims made by former head coach Hue Jackson that he was rewarded monetarily for losing games in order to get a higher pick in the NFL Draft.

“The recent comments by Hue Jackson and his representatives relating to his tenure as our head coach are completely fabricated,” a Browns’ spokesperson said in a statement. “Any accusation that any member of our organization was incentivized to deliberately lose games is categorically false.”

Jackson, who was fired by Browns during the 2018 season, said in a tweet that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was “happy while we kept losing.”

The tweet came after attorneys for former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filing a racial discrimination lawsuit that also alleges Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to pay him $100,000 for intentionally losing games.

In response to a tweet saying Haslam wasn’t offering Jackson $100,000 for every loss, Jackson responded, “Trust me it was a good number!,” implying he was paid to lose.

Jackson appeared on ESPN on Wednesday and clarified his remarks on Twitter.

“We were paid for it,” Jackson said. “You’re going to see it as losing, but the way the team was built there was no chance to win at a high level.”

Jackson told ESPN, “I wasn’t offered $100,000 for every game but there was a substantial amount of money made within what happened in the situation every year at the end of it and I didn’t really truly understand why until all those numbers, and you add it up and you go ‘What is this?’

Jackson went 3-36-1 during his tenure in Cleveland, including going 1-15 in his first season and 0-16 in his second. Because of their league-worst record, the Browns had the first pick in the draft in back-to-back years.

“You take jobs to win, your contract says win, so you don’t get paid for losing. And then here I am after being 1-31, I’m kept a third year and given a contract extension that nobody knew. So that should tell everybody something right there,” Jackson told ESPN.

Jackson pointed out the “same people who are involved in all these transactions are still running the organization today. So, that means they must have been doing something right through all that losing.”

Jackson said he has had talks with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding what was going on with the team.

Kimberly Diemert, the executive director of the Hue Jackson Foundation, said in a tweet that she had records that would help Flores’ case.

Diemert also alleged the Browns paid bonus money to Jackson and three front office executives to tank and claimed that Goodell and the league knew about it and covered it up.

In response to Diemert’s tweet, Jackson said, “I stand with Brian Flores. I can back up every word I’m saying.”

Jackson said on ESPN that he would be willing to join Flores’ class-action lawsuit, saying, “I’m not afraid to stand behind Brian when it comes to anything, because I know what our men go through, and I don’t want this for the men that come behind me, at all.

CNN has reached out to the NFL and Hue Jackson Foundation for comment.

Jackson was hired in December as the head coach at Grambling State University.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong year for when the Cleveland Browns fired Hue Jackson. It was during the 2018 season.

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