While Baker Mayfield's stare-down of former coach Hue Jackson made for a great football moment, a new development suggests that this anger is misplaced, as the two have a common enemy: the Cleveland Browns' ownership.
On Thursday (Jan. 24), ESPN released a report that details the dismay that is the Cleveland Browns. The story outlines how bad decisions made by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam are the root of the team's issues. One of these many mishaps is the hiring of Hue Jackson. In the piece, it is said that the Browns' owner hired Jackson despite the rest of the team's officials preferring Sean Mcdermott. This led to years of in-fighting that came to a head this season, when general manager John Dorsey was tasked with firing Jackson.
"Jackson asked why he was being fired. 'The team quit on you,' Dorsey replied," the piece reads. "At the time, four of the eight Browns games had gone to overtime. 'Get the fuck out of my office,' Jackson said."
The article also takes a deep dive into Haslam's whimsical personality. At one point it is mentioned that he made the decision to draft Johnny Manziel and not Teddy Bridgewater because he did not like how Bridgewater's handshakes felt. It is also said that there is "a race" to be the last person to talk to Haslam before any major decision because he is married to the latest idea whether it fits the scheme of the Browns or not. In addition, Haslam is criticized for his cultural insensitivity. When Sashi Brown was promoted as the Executive Vice President of football operations, Haslam would refer to him as "Obama" which made many staffers uncomfortable. Yet this is no surprise as Haslam has confessed that the NFL was his first experience in diversity.
ESPN goes on to theorize that this dysfunction at the top of the organization has trickled down to the players. The publication says the team does not know who to trust. As a result, there is pressure on Baker Mayfield to be the light for Cleveland that left with LeBron while also delivering to a franchise that is in utter dismay.