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Sports


FBI raids and losing records take yet another whack at Cleveland’s sports hopes
Terry Pluto says distractions could get the best of owners Haslam and Gilbert
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Terry Pluto says nothing turned up when Haslam was vetted by the NFL prior to buying the Browns and previously, his stake in the Steelers.
Courtesy of The Plain Dealer
Download (WKSU Only)

It’s not been a good week for two of Cleveland’s professional sports teams. The Cavaliers play their last game of a forgettable season tonight -- going for just their 25th win.

Meanwhile, Cleveland Brown’s owner Jimmy Haslam is embroiled in an FBI and IRS investigation surrounding his Tennessee-based truck stop company, Pilot Flying J. Its headquarters in Knoxville was raided twice this week.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about Haslam and the Cavs' future.

Listen to Terry Pluto's commentary

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:50)


Nothing showed up when Haslam was vetted
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was vetted by the NFL, not only when he bought the Browns last year, but when he took partial interest in the Steelers five years ago. Nothing turned up then that suggested federal raids, so Pluto says they either missed something, or the problems are new or not that serious. And he says Haslam’s abrupt move back to Tennessee and back to the CEO job at the Pilot Flying J suggests at least a distraction.

"If he’s spending a lot of time with the IRS and the FBI … not only will the attention be taken away but, (the question arises): ‘Will there be any resources?’”

And feds raiding businesses is not the norm among sports owners. “You can get mad at the Dolans [owners of the Indians], but as far as I know, the FBI has not shown up and slammed the place down.”

Changes imminent for the Cavs
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are about to finish another abysmal season. Since LeBron James left three years ago, the team has won just 28 percent of its games.

Coach Byron Scott will likely be fired “because that’s what you do in the NBA, fire your coach. At the end of this season, 17 of the 30 coaches in the NBA … haven’t even been with their team for three full seasons.”

Meanwhile, the Cavs “have subjected their fan base to just some horrible basketball,” and while the fans have been patient,  “they better do something this off season (to say) ‘We’re going to go for the playoffs now.”

Gilbert must break the cycle
As for owner Dan Gilbert, he better find a hard to find commodity in the NBA, an experienced coach who can break a bad cycle in Cleveland sports:

“In Cleveland, you fire the coach, you hire the coach, you draft. You fire the coach, you hire the coach, you draft.

“One of these times, you want to hire the right coach, draft the right way and then you don’t have to fire people right away.”

Pluto on Francona's rocky history with Red Sox
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MP3 Download
(3:50)



Related WKSU Stories

What’s the cost of an opening day loss in Cleveland?
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pluto: Enjoy baseball as it was meant to be… On the radio
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Browns owner says trucker gas rebates spawned FBI investigation
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Haslam era begins in Cleveland
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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