Remember all the smoke we had for Kelly Loeffler when she tried to go in on the Black Lives Matter movement earlier in the summer? WNBA … do not make us have to reserve some of that same smoke for a certain owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
According to Sportico, the Browns’ owner is expressing interest in bidding for the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves. It also says that the Straus Group was involved in exclusive talks to purchase the franchises but that no deal was reached by the expiration that those talks could occur.
The Haslam Sports Group provided a statement to Sportico that it …
is regularly evaluating potential investment opportunities in sports and entertainment but any speculation about us currently being in the process of pursuing that investment would be inaccurate.
While Haslam has received praise in political circles for voicing (at best, tepid) opposition to the things coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, money talks.
Haslam still overwhelmingly gives to Republicans. According to Open Secrets, some of Haslam’s previous contributions have included money to Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and Utah Senator Mitt Romney.
In 2020, Haslam has given only $4,200 to Democratic candidates – and over $354,000 to Republicans. It is safe to say that despite his opposition in the past to you-know-who that this leopard has not changed his “Brown” spots.
Haslam was also involved in a controversy involving himself and the former Vice President of football operations at the Browns – Sashi Brown. According to an ESPN article penned by Seth Wickersham early last year, Haslam referred to Brown as “Obama,” which coming from the politically regressive Haslam should be seen as anything but complimentary.
A former Pilot Flying J executive, who worked under Haslam at the truck stop company, was also revealed to have made racist remarks about the Browns and Cleveland in a fraud trial involving the company.
Haslam may have money – but a Haslam ownership of a WNBA franchise would not be a good look for the league at all beyond simply his questionable political stances. The league already is in hot water with many fans for the fact that there are only two Black head coaches and four women coaches – one of them being the Lynx’s Cheryl Reeve. The others – Sandy Brondello (Phoenix Mercury), Nicki Collen (Atlanta Dream) and Marianne Stanley (Indiana Fever).
Even though the report has been denied by the Haslam Sports Group, it would not be a good look for a league that has an overwhelmingly progressive and Black player base to bring someone who is anything but progressive (or a person of color) into the fold. It would be the Loeffler situation on steroids when what the WNBA should be encouraging is more Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American and women ownership of teams.