Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says it seems more people are renewing than canceling tickets at this point
BEREA, Ohio — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Friday it appears more people are renewing tickets than canceling following the team’s acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“We haven’t seen any numbers in the last few days, the last time we looked, and that’s a little misleading because the renewal date I think ends today or next Friday and so there’s a rush,” Haslam said in a Zoom call with reporters. “but it seems there are a lot more people renewing than canceling tickets.”
Dee and Jimmy Haslam spoke to the media shortly after Watson’s presentation at an in-person press conference alongside general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski.
“But we respect individuals who have strong feelings,” Dee Haslam continued. “We understand those feelings.”
The Browns have come under fire following the acquisition of Watson, who still faces 22 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Two grand juries declined to indict Watson, the first on March 11 and the second on March 24.
“I think we felt comfortable in the legal process,” Dee Haslam said of feeling comfortable bringing Watson to the Browns. “I mean, if you follow the legal process, we have to trust the legal process. So I think that’s what we did, was we trusted the process, and then again, as we learned more and more about Deshaun as a person, we felt okay with Deshaun as a person.
“Two different grand juries in two different counties considered nine different criminal cases and decided not to proceed,” Jimmy Haslam said. “We have to trust this process. OK. So I think that’s really important.
Many fans expressed outrage at the decision to acquire Watson and some swore their Browns fandom.
“I would tell you that we can never fully put ourselves in the shoes of people who have been sexually assaulted. It’s something that we thought about a lot during this process, to understand what the reaction would be,” Berry said earlier today. “It was something that weighed heavily on me. We sympathize with that emotion, and we sympathize with that feeling. At the same time, we are also pleased with the job we have done in reviewing this transaction. We have confidence and faith in Deshaun as a person, and that weighed in on the decision, but between the information we were able to gather, due process and legal process, we believe this is a decision that as it is valued over the long term it will be something positive for the organization We totally respect and we totally understand those feelings at this time and totally understand that there are people out there who are not comfortable with them transaction right now, but again, we’ve been tracking our information, we feel good about Deshaun as a person, and we think he’s going to do a lot of good in the community.
Dee and Jimmy Haslam said they understood the backlash, but expressed confidence that Watson would be able to regain confidence.
“We as a family, we as the owner, we as an organization understood that it was going to be difficult, that there would be a lot of people who were not comfortable with it and would criticize it. “, said Jimmy Haslam. “We understand it will take time. Some people may never recover. But again, we are confident in Deshaun and the organization that over time he will earn their trust.
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