Dee Haslam's Graceful Support of Myles Garrett Worked on Multiple Levels
Cleveland Browns Owner Dee Haslam made news when she attended the game against the Miami Dolphins wearing a hat with Myles Garret's number 95 on it in a show of support. In addition to feeling genuine, it's also a smart move from the organization's standpoint.
First and foremost, it's a message to fans, players and Garrett that their support for him in the wake of his actions is unwavering. As reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Garrett immediately told members of the organization he was the target of a racial slur, which incited his actions that ultimately resulted in his indefinite suspension. It doesn't hurt that Garrett is one of the best defensive players in the league, but there was no hesitation to wrap their collective arms around him.
The move by Haslam ended any speculation that the Browns might be inclined to hide from or move on from Garrett. It's a win for ownership with fans, particularly female fans who look up to Dee Haslam, viewing this as a sign of strength from her without saying a single word. It sent a message that the entire organization was with Garrett and they'd get through this and he would be back in the orange and brown, even if isn't until next season.
Anyone potentially offended by the move isn't going to be a Browns fan or someone buying their product. In this situation, ownership is only concerned about their customer base, as they should be. Pleasing any potential naysayers doesn't do anything for their bottom line while this sent a clear message that was met with an outpouring of support from fans and has drawn praise from many in the local media. It felt like a big moment because it was unexpected and had gravity to it.
Looking longer term, Myles Garrett has said he wants to play his entire career as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He's certainly not the first player to say that and won't be the last, but as with many things said by Garrett, it didn't come from him lightly This show of support may prove meaningful to one of the more thoughtful players this team has had since the Haslams bought the team.
Next year will be the final year of his first contract, unless the team simply opts to pick up his fifth year option. More likely, the Browns and Garrett's camp will attempt to hammer out a long term deal to keep him with the team for five more years. Garrett is one of the most talented players in the league already and the Browns will want to lock him as up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Garrett will be able to get the first of what could be two massive contract extensions in his career. He's already made a life-changing amount of money, but that second contract is the one that could set his family with generational wealth.
This gesture by Dee Haslam could prove to be a factor in ensuring Garrett is thoroughly convinced he wants to stay here for the rest of his career. That matters. And as long as Garrett is here, the Browns have a genuine superstar they can market in addition to his impact on the field and how much it helps the team compete.
Beyond that, it may be a recruiting tool for other players to either want to stay here or sign here. It's difficult to foresee how players on other teams viewed that moment, but it may serve to temper enthusiasm from Browns players in potential recruiting pitches both to teammates that are to be free agents and then players that could help the Browns as they try to compete for a Super Bowl.
Last but certainly not least, there are a lot of people that now want to buy the hat Dee Haslam was wearing with 95 on it. And it's difficult to imagine the Browns won't find a way to make sure they can. On top of everything else, it may help the Browns move a little product.
All in all, it may have been obvious for ownership to support Myles Garrett, but Dee Haslam's choice in how to do it proved smart on multiple levels. Without saying a word, she said everything.