Brent Larkin at Cleveland.com got his hands on a copy of a list of proposed development projects that was submitted to the Ohio state government by group of Columbus business leaders. One proposed project on the list asks for $5 million in public funds to build the Cleveland Browns a new practice facility in Columbus.
The Browns currently hold their annual training camp in Berea, but have been looking for a way to hold part of the camp in Columbus every year. This new practice facility is part of a deal that would see the Browns moving camp to Columbus for three weeks every summer. As Larkin points out, the proposal’s language attempts to make it look like the new facility is being built for the good of the community, and not just as a way to entice the Browns:
The request from Columbus business leaders says the $5 million is to help pay for an “athletic practice training facility.”
It then describes the project this way: “The Athletic Practice and Training Facility will serve as a backdrop for collegiate athletic teams and community youth programs to utilize throughout the year. It will also attract professional athletic teams and franchises to our region.”
Translated: We’re going to disguise this as a tax request to help kids, but it’s really about the Browns.
Splitting training camp between two locations is a racket many NFL teams have already gotten in on—new cities offer swaths of new fans who can be conned into spending $50 to stand in the hot sun watching Brian Hoyer throw terrible passes—but the fact that this move is set to be bankrolled by public money makes it about as shameless as an NFL money grab can get.