Tanking allegations made by ex-Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson can't be substantiated, independent review shows

The NFL said Monday that an independent review found "no evidence" to substantiate allegations made by former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson that the team intentionally lost games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Jackson was fired by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam eight games into the 2018 season with a 3-36-1 overall record in two-plus years.

In February, Jackson indicated in a series of posts on social media that the team paid him bonuses incentivizing him to lose and that he was set up to fail. Jackson later softened those allegations.

The NFL announced that after a 60-day review, independent investigators led by former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White "determined that none of the allegations could be substantiated."

The league said that Jackson initially agreed to meet with the investigators, but ultimately did not. Investigators, however, did have access to public statements and filings he had previously made, as well as his testimony in a prior arbitration proceeding.

The NFL also said Jimmy Haslam was interviewed, as were other current and former members of the organization. The Browns also provided documents to help investigators.

"We appreciate the independent investigation led by Mary Jo White and the Debevoise team which brings closure to these allegations that Hue Jackson publicly recanted shortly after they were made and that we've known all along are categorically false," the Browns said in a statement. "As we've previously stated, we welcomed this investigation because the integrity of our game is something that should not be taken lightly and an independent review was crucial in bringing a conclusion to this matter."

Jackson is now the coach at Grambling State.