So why are we skeptical?
Perhaps this is a comment on our post-Watergate/mid-recession society.
Or perhaps it’s a function of one owner who skipped town and the son of another owner who is more enamored of his English soccer team than the source of the inheritance he is rapidly pouring into said soccer team.
Forbes' “Thought of the Day” for Saturday August 4 was:
There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.
With all due respect to the 19th century philosopher—horse-hockey! (And how telling that this sentiment was quoted in the universal money-making Bible.)
Ethics check: There is no worse lie than a lie.
In June, Browns president Mike Holmgren was on the record to multiple media members:
No, the Browns are not for sale. I talk to Randy [Lerner] all the time, and I assume he'd tell me. We have a very open, honest relationship. No, there's no truth to that.
And yet Mr. Haslam told the assembled reporters on Friday, August 3:
“They called us in May and said it looks like a team may become available.”
On July 27, an Associated Press article referenced on espn.com wrote:
Holmgren said that Lerner's interests have changed during the years and that the owner had told him a while back that, while he loved the team, he would consider selling if and when a reliable buyer came along.
“All the stars aligned in the last few months.” Holmgren said.
Of course, I could be confused, but don’t the phrases “a while back” and “the last few months” imply that Mr. Mike knew about the sale possibility before his June disclaimer?
Jimmy Haslam could be the second coming of Richard Nixon in the truth-telling department for all we know. However, he at least talks about truth in ownership: "I think you’ll find that we are open and transparent."
Time will tell.
On the other hand, the jury is in on Lerner and Holmgren.
So, what might this regime change mean for a team trying desperately to complete a rebuild?
*unless otherwise noted, all statements attributed to Mr. Haslam are from his press conference on Friday, August 3 (transcript available on Cleveland.com).