Jimmy Haslam plans to sell minor league baseball team


Jimmy Haslam is selling the team.

Not the Cleveland Browns, but the Tennessee Smokies, a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

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Area businessman Randy Boyd told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he plans to buy the club, with Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, retaining a security interest in the Smokies.

The move hits our radar only because Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J, is embroiled in a federal investigation after it was accused of running a fuel rebate scheme that defrauded customers.

Haslam assured the Sentinel that selling the Smokies is "absolutely not" linked to the investigation, but confirmed the sale is, indeed, Browns-related.

"It does have something to do with Cleveland in that we're obviously going to be spending more time there," Haslam said. "But I think the reality is the entire partnership group had owned the team for 12 years and felt like it was time for new ownership."

Haslam also assured Browns fans they have "absolutely zero to worry about," but until the FBI and IRS conclude their investigation, the Flying J scandal remains a dark cloud on the horizon for a city that's had its heart broken one too many times.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.