Browns fans organizing a boycott of the kickoff against the Baltimore Ravens a week from Monday may have press releases, TV appearances, and coverage by media outlets around the country in their corner, but there is one thing they appear to be lacking at this point: Support of a majority of Browns fans.
According to an admittedly unscientific poll taken in the Orange and Brown Report's Watercooler forum over the last week, only slightly more than one-third of fans support a boycott of the team's kickoff, with the remainder being against the boycott.
The poll first appeared on Saturday, with over two thirds of fans who voted in the poll voicing their disagreement with the boycott. After the Browns lopsided loss to the Bears on Sunday, we pinned the poll to the top of the forum once more to see if another loss had changed the minds of fans in our forums. Not much changed - results nudged slightly more in favor of the boycott, but still remained well under 40%.
Issues regarding the boycott which came up in the comments in the thread and elsewhere on our forums in the last week include:
-- A perception that the boycott isn't needed, since it exists primarily to voice fan anger, which would hardly come a surprise to the Browns organization or the team's owner, Randy Lerner.
-- A lack of clear objectives for the boycott, other than to underline that fans don't like the product and want a winning team. Boycott organizers don't appear to have any specific demands, such as requesting a sale of the team, replacement of the head coach, etc. Protest organizers have talked about a need for the team to be responsive, and concerns about what they consider overly aggressive security in the Dawg Pound.
-- Lack of any clear way to tell if the boycott was successful, given that Cleveland Browns Stadium usually has a high percentage of empty seats at kickoff, and that a number of seats are remaining empty throughout the game as the team's 1-7 start has led to lower attendance.
Media outlets reporting on the fan protests have typically not sought the opinion of many Browns fans outside the individuals organizing the protest.
Some among the majority of fans not agreeing with the boycott still believe some form of voicing their dissatisfaction is valuable. Alternatives such as bringing signs to the stadium (a right won by fan agitation back in 1999) or fans wearing bags on their heads have been offered. Others are in such disagreement with the idea of the protest that they vow to be in their seats early, cheering louder than ever.
What do you think? Do Browns fans need to protest the team's performance? Feel free to write us here at the OBR with your views.