A U.S. District Court Judge has unsealed transcripts of secretly recorded tapes gathered in the investigation of fraud perpetrated by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J company. While the transcripts apparently don’t contradict Haslam’s claim that he was in no way involved in the scheme, they do prove pretty conclusively that his company was hiring and promoting some true racist shitbags. Per Cleveland.com:
The recordings, a key part of the trial of Hazelwood and three subordinates, captured an informal meeting of Hazelwood and Pilot Flying J sales staff, as they drank alcohol and watched football Oct. 25, 2012.
Some sales staff can be heard on the tapes mocking the racial make-up of Cleveland and Oakland, two liberal cities that had struggling football teams.
Haslam himself was able to wriggle out of the deepest of the shit after Pilot Flying J agreed to pay the federal government $92 million in a negotiated settlement. But several of his subordinates, including former Pilot Flying J president Mark Hazelwood, are still on the hook, having been found guilty of fraud related charges. Defense attorneys persuaded the judge to keep the tapes under seal, but that seal was lifted this week as Hazelwood and three subordinates progress toward sentencing, and the content of the tapes is now out there. It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that the transcripts reveal that higher-ups at a billion dollar business are total scum—Hazelwood, who was fired by Pilot Flying J soon after the tapes were played in court, is just openly, flagrantly a racist:
“[Oakland] ain’t, it ain’t Mexicans,” said Hazelwood. “It’s just niggers. ... Cleveland, it ain’t nothin’ but niggers.”
On the tapes, Hazelwood and others laughed and joked about the idea of the Browns going to the Super Bowl. They spent a long time making fun of the Browns’ earth tone uniforms, according to the transcripts.
“Who buys the Raiders’ shit? Niggers,” Hazelwood said, answering his own question.
Later, he said, “So you think the brothers are gonna buy somethin’ that says, ‘The Browns’ on it?”
Hazelwood and the three other Pilot Flying J employees are reportedly scheduled to be sentenced on June 27.