On Friday, a day that marked the fourteenth anniversary of Art Modell betraying Browns fans for Baltimore's financial promises, I published an article arguing against the proposed "Brown Out" of Cleveland Browns Stadium. Instead, I suggested fans support the team they worked so hard to win back next Monday night as they take on an organization whose birth came at their expense.
I have written articles on various Cleveland Browns web sites since 1996, but I have never gotten the type of reaction that this one created. I spent this weekend answering between 150-200 emails from fans who took the time to write in during the period that the story was featured on the OBR home page. Of that number, just a handful were in favor of the "Brown Out", and most of those seemed to focus on demands that don't seem to be part of the somewhat nebulous agenda of protest organizers, such as demanding Randy Lerner sell the team.
The message from these emails - which represent only a tiny fraction of what we've received or seen discussed on the OBR's message boards - is that protest organizers have far to go before they can realistically claim that the majority of Browns fans support their approach. Polls, emails, and message board threads on the OBR all indicate that the majority of visitors to this site are opposed to the "Brown Out".
While most Browns fans don't busy themselves sending out press releases and appearing on TV and radio, their opinion still very much counts, and has been largely ignored by the media. I urge protest organizers to consider this.
What follows are a representative slice of emails that were sent to to the OBR on Friday and Saturday. In reprinting these emails, I am omitting the names and email addresses of those who wrote in, and am attempting to emphasize emails that disagreed with the standpoint of the editorial. Messages have been slightly edited to focus attention on their thoughts regarding support for the team.
I would like to thank all those who commented on the editorial, and appreciate the thoughtful manner in which all fans expressed their views.
Hey, I'm a huge Browns fan/season ticket holder living in Columbus.
I've been trying to sell my tickets for the upcoming game, mainly because it's a Monday night game and it's hard for me to make it up on a Monday night. As you can imagine I have no buyers.
When I first heard about the protest, at first I let my frustration and anger take over and I agreed with it. But, after thinking about it, I feel like fans should do just the opposite. We should fill that stadium, be in our seats at kickoff, and pack the joint and show the world that WE ARE THE BEST FANS IN THE NFL.
Lerner and the Browns know we are pissed off and are tired of losing. Staying away doesn't help anything. If we fill that stadium on Monday night and show support for our beloved Browns, maybe we can put some positive energy behind this thing and get it moving in the right direction. If we stay away, we set a precedent, where we open ourselves to more ridicule and get labeled fair-weather fans.
After going through this thought process, I am going to the game, even though it will be very hard to make it (with it being Monday night and living in Columbus and having to work). I am a true die-hard fan and I'm going to be there and show the world how much the Steelers fans, Bengals fans, Ravens fans, and any other fans suck, because we are THE CLEVELAND BROWNS FANS and are going to show what it means to be a TRUE BROWNS FAN. Because WE ARE THE BEST FANS IN THE NFL.
Though I'm not from the Cleveland area, I've been a DIE HARD Browns fan for as long as I can remember.
As much as most of us still feel "screwed" by Modell's greed all those years ago, I'm in full agreement with Mr. McBride.
Most of all Lerner, but also Mangini, Daboll, Ryan, and for that matter Savage, Crenell, Davis, Palmer, et.al., haven't intended to put a bad product on the field. It's just that, unfortunately for ALL involved, for the most part, they have.
Though it may be somewhat of stretch to say this, it's the fans who suffer the most. Our vicarious participation in the fortunes of a football team are, healthy or not, deeply rooted and quite genuine. It hurts deeply to know that the team we "live and die with" REALLY is one of the worst 2 or 3 franchises in all of professional football.
Living, as I do, in Louisville, KY, attending Browns games isn't an easy thing to do. Prior to Modell's scurrilous action in 1995, my brother & son attended at least two games per season, including sitting in the Dawgpound on both the "replacement" games AND the Sunday vs. the Oilers, after it was announced that Modell was moving the team to Baltimore. Since the return, we've only been able to get to games sporadically.
So my opinion on this proposed boycott obviously doesn't carry the same weight as someone who attends each and every week. But my small group of fans still gets together every game and watches that same product that the ticket holders do.
When the broadcast of next Monday Night's game against the long-loathed Ravens begins, I'd like to see a stadium full of fellow Browns fans yelling at the top of their collective lungs showing the country that it's not lack of support that dogs this organization.
A half-full stadium is likely to only provide the ESPN'ers more fodder to mock our folly.
I am 62 years old, grew up in New York, have never lived in Ohio and count rooting for the Browns as my only real sin. My memories of youth and thereafter can be tracked to how the Browns did in any year. I am asked many times why I am a Browns fan although I have no connection to Ohio. I reply that I started rooting for them when I was 7 and have remained loyal ever since.
In the ten years since the team returned, there has been only one constant-the Lerner family has owned the team. Bad drafts and bad coaches and GMs have been a constant. A flip of the coin would appear to produce better results.
Jeff Scafaro is right on the mark. There is no hope now. Mangini was a horrible choice by a person who knew nothing better. Mangini will not be able to recruit free agents, he will lose any good ones on the team now and no good GM would ever come to the team.
Perhaps Randy Lerner won't sell the team. I do know one thing. He still does not get it. The fans need to send an unmistakable signal to him that the present is awful and the future will be the same unless Lerner fires Mangini by the end of the year and turns the team over to someone who gets it.
Besides a fan protest what else can we do? Your approach appears to be to do nothing. That is as unacceptable as the team's success over these ten years.
You make a strong argument for Lerner selling the team, and I would agree that they've struggled to put a competitive product on the field. Experience with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Houston Texans, and New Orleans Saint shows that a quickly-competitive expansion team was an aberration when it happened for Carolina and Jacksonville in the mid-90s.
But if Lerner's ownership or its dysfunctional appearance makes the team so toxic that it can't lure an experienced, capable executive to the team this off-season, I may join you in suggesting that he sell.
The problem is this - the people leading the "boycott" don't agree with you. They emerged from a two hour meeting with Lerner singing his praises, and their message shifted from playing on fans anger about the team to lesser issues like a "ring of honor" in the stadium or standing up and swearing in the Dawg Pound. Those are fine things to talk about, but have nothing to do with what you want.
If you want Lerner to sell, I suggest you find like-minded fans and build support for it. I wouldn't recommend that you support a "Brown Out" that doesn't appear to mean what you want it to mean. - Barry
While these times are TOUGH, we don't need a boycott that divides the fan base. In my opinion, we need to CHEER collectively that what our fathers and grandfathers taught us.
Which is YOU WIN AS A TEAM and LOSE AS A TEAM
I agree, no boycott. Let's show the U.S. who still has the best fans ever. We are still the only fanbase who fought to keep our team and won.
I agree it's a mess and will take time. Firing Mangini in the middle would just make it worse. End of the season fire him and get started on building a winner.
I will be out of town Monday night but I say stand up and support Mr.Lerner and Bernie. Let them know what a true Browns fan is LOYAL.
I agree with your take on the "protest".
There has been too much mis or dis- information concerning Lerner and Mangini... maybe even Kokinis. It has mostly been media opinions rather than fact that have lead to this fan upset.
I was glad to read your article. Even though I am just as angry and frustrated as many of the fans are, I wont even go a day without wearing my Browns hat let alone go to a game and protest against the organization on national television.
To me, that just separates the fans and the team even further than what we already are.
We all remember back in the 80's when the fans and the team were one. There was this great companionship among the fans, no matter where you were from. I remember the first year the Browns and Broncos were playing in the championship game... I was still in high school, and remembered hearing on the radio that there was going to be a big rally in the downtown area with food and a live band. Me and a couple buddies piled in the car and drove all the up to Cleveland (about a three hour drive) and joined in on the rally. Three high school kids from a small town in West Central Ohio, walking around the big city of Cleveland. I can remember the thing that amazed me most was how there was not a stranger in the place. If you had on Brown and Orange, you were part of the family. Amazing.
Thats what we need to get back to, getting behind our team, and barking like mad dogs on game day.
A very thoughtful, insightful and well-prepared article from a very loyal fan. The real issue for me as a fan from the early 60s perspective is: How do you want to spend your time? Watching a pitiful team disintegrate? Everyone on that team and in the administration is making a lot of money, win or lose. How are you spending yours?
Me, I read the web postings, team news, etc. as a hobby, but refuse to waste my time and money watching such misery. Until they get better, what's the point? I will not spend a dollar on the team or the NFL until and unless they get better. And if they don't, there's plenty of FUN things to do on Sunday afternoons.
I will also speak on the (non-related, I agree) security issue. They HAVE gone overboard, not just in Cleveland, but throughout the league. I was thrown out of the game at Buffalo about 5 years ago for throwing a peanut shell in the air after a bad play. It hit no one, but I was throwing "projectiles." A peanut shell. Another eject-ee said he asked a security guard why his friend was being ejected from the stadium and was, in turn, ejected.
The state of the league... Too much money, too much media (as you outlined), and unfortunately, a team that is no longer fun to watch.
Over the years, I've heard a lot of comments about over-zealous security in the Dawg Pound, and differing standards for "well known" fans vs, ordinary folks. In 1999, I watched security bring fan after fan out of the bleachers. There was not nearly as much of this in my upper deck seats, as I don't think there's enough oxygen to support strenuous misbehavior or law enforcement activity. Regardless, it really rubbed me the wrong way. Mr. Policy seemed to be defining the stadium the way he wanted it, and not the way the fans-- who won back the team and created his job - wanted it.
While I had not heard nearly as many stories of this type in recent years, it does appear to be a concern among some fans. It's probably well worth the team's attention. At the same time, this protest is backed mostly by fans who are upset with the team's inept play or, at least, that appears to be the thing that motivates folks. Dawg Pound security was not mentioned in any emails or message board posts supporting it that I've seen to date. - Barry
I am a lifelong browns fan in NY. I do not support the boycott because the ones who will feel it the most are the players.
These guys, for the most part, are there to win a football game - they need true fan support at there home stadium to feel inspired. I think the fans should show the team and players they are behind them because thats what we do. We are all heartbroken over the state of this team but I will always show this team support because they are the Cleveland Browns
I do not know if you are looking for suggestions or ideas. However, if you are, here are my two cents.
In many ways, the Browns remind me of what is wrong with much of Corporate America. There is little in the way of oversight and accountable. Boards of Directors are supposed to provide this function, but today they are little more than rubber stamps and a collection corporate insiders who sit on each other's boards. "OK, I'll vote for your bonus even though your company lost $500 million provided you vote for my bonus although my company is about bankrupt."
Randy may care about the Browns and is trying to do the right thing, but he does not have 20 or 30 years of experience in pro football at various levels of operations and management. Getting occasional insights from Jim Brown, Bernie Kosar, and Ernie Accorsi just does not cut it.
Randy could greatly benefit from a quiet Browns Board of Directors. This Board is not to be involved with any day-to-day operations, but is to make sure there is "a plan" in place and is being followed. Do the day-to-day operations make sense and are professional in manner. Are the fans enjoying their game-day experience? Most importantly, they can spell out the pros and cons for Randy in making any decisions.
I have no idea who would sit on this board. Remember this is not a full-time activity, but a periodic review making committee. Therefore, I would suggest people like Kosar, Accorsi, Rutigliano, and at least three or four others who could meet monthly or when major decisions are needed. This way when it comes to making hard choices, Randy, as they say in Japan, does not have to close his eyes and leap from the temple roof.
This is an intriguing idea. I've asked the author of this email to follow up with a Fan Commentary outlining his suggestion if he has time to do so. - Barry
Well articulated Barry! You expressed how I feel and why precisely.
One reason for my growing feeling of apathy towards the NFL is that I get angry every time I think of how Cleveland was used to blackmail other cities, and the resulting weak start the franchise had. Anger, combined with frustration & sadness is not healthy so in self-defense I am slowly turning away, but its tough to turn off a 45 year relationship.
Please also do not underestimate the emotions involved with fans feeling powerless to do something about a thing they feel so strongly about and identify with.
There is no debate that Randy Lerner is trying hard to turn the situation around, but I question if his people skills and business acumen are up to the task. Coaches and GMs might be the face of the team, but successful franchises have whole organizations and cultures that select, nurture and support them. Does Randy have the ability to create such an organization or find the people that can? The results to-date are not a good indicator.
Very good question. We'll find out this off-season is some of the more capable individuals in the NFL feel that the Cleveland Browns are an organization that can be turned around, or if they don't have enough confidence in the owner to commit themselves to the task. - Barry
Your thoughts are spot on -- Randy Lerner is a good man, who passionately cares about this franchise and most of all, the world's most loyal fans.
I'm as frustrated as anyone. An original -- since 1946 -- and continuous season ticket holder even though no one from my family has lived in Cleveland for more than 20 years. But if we give up hope or support now, all those years since 1964 will have been wasted.
I totally agree with you on this article.
Randy actually met with these two guys who want to protest. That should have been enough to satisfy them that they've been heard.
Especially since they'd been granted 30 minutes and got two hours of Lerner's time.
This is the worst possible time not to show support, as you pointed out: during the Ravens game.
What we should be organizing is a big, concerted shout. Or a boo. All of this energy—this negative energy—should be directed, not at the Browns (are they the real Browns?), but at the Ravens (please let them not be the real Browns).
What makes the Browns the Browns? Is there anything at all about this team that we can identify with? I'm tired of hearing about failure and economic depression. How about consistency and blue-collar work ethic? They give up. At the very least, one could say they're stealing from their employer.
I'm lost. I've lost my conviction that improvement is inevitable with time, that only patience is required. I no longer believe that they will necessarily ever be good. And the Steelers are in the middle of a dynasty decade.
Wanna know what makes it even harder for me? I live in Maryland, Ravens country. And my wife was raised a Steelers fan. Tell me something to keep myself from turning to the Ravens, a franchise I've hated in a way that is different from how I hate the Steelers: a way that does not make football more fun, but less; a way that makes me sick to my stomach.
Which Browns make me more sick to my stomach? These, or those?
Maybe we just take this game too seriously, and we're reaping what we sow for ourselves.
Bringing up the Steelers is interesting. Sure, the Steelers have a lot of support now, but I'm not aware of a large community of Cleveland-based Steelers fans when the team was struggling. As a result, a lot of Browns fans call recent converts to Steeler fandom "bandwagon jumpers" and point out how poorly supported the team was before their run in the 1970s and in other (tragically rare) down periods for that franchise. Do we want to be the equivalent of those fans? I don't blame folks for walking away, but hope we keep enough of a core of loyal fans throughout hard times so that we never get the reputation of fair-weather fans.
After all, did the world support us in 1995 because we threw the best tantrums? No, they supported us because they knew we were loyal, dedicated, and didn't deserve what Modell and the City of Baltimore did to us. - Barry
Thanks for your article on the boycott. I live 1200 miles from C-Town so it wasn't a personal issue for me but your words really hit me. I have been following the Browns since the fifties and for the first time last week I didn't watch a game that I had access to. I must admit that it felt odd but it was a lot less painful than having to suffer through the incompetent play and frustration. I vowed not to watch the games live anymore until the product improved.
Your article convinced me that the Browns deserve my support now as much as ever. It's the Browns that matter and even if the current roster, Lerner, Mangini and the rest are a pitiful example of the Browns, as long as they are trying, I'm going to support them. Not because this iteration of the team and staff deserve it but because the BROWNS deserve it.
Our Team, Our Colors.... if the current version stinks I'll complain about it and pray for a better rendition but by God the Browns mean something to me that none of trouble the franchise is enduring can take away.
OUR TEAM, OUR COLORS, OUR Browns!
I love this email. Thank you for sending it. There's a reason "Out Team, Our Name, Our Colors" sits beside the OBR logo at the top of every page. To a large degree, the Cleveland Browns are about us... our community, our friendships, our relationships with our fathers and family. At the end of the day, to many of us, they are a tie helps bind friends and family relationships together. In my family, for example, it's one topic that grandfather, father, and son can talk about for hours. Sure the current bunch aren't any good, but the Cleveland Browns are too important for many of us to ever turn our backs on them. - Barry
I loved your piece on the "boycott" or "protest" or whatever the hell those choosing to do so want to call it. I agree that the "boycott" will accomplish nothing; other than make Browns fans in general look like idiots.
I support this team 100%, good or bad. I wear my jerseys and garb on Sundays no matter where I go and display all of my gear in my office proudly. I consider myself a loyal, die hard fan who will cheer on this Browns team every Sunday no matter what! I take much ridicule for it, but I don't care! I may not like who is running the show (not talking about Lerner), but I love this team! If these fools that want to carry forward with the MNF fiasco continue to do so they can NO LONGER considered themselves die hard fans! To me, they are fair weather fans that need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. These are people who choose to run because things are tough right now. And yes, we all know it has been tough over the past decade.
I know you have seen it more than I, since I am in the military and don't reside in the Cleveland area, but select fans and media need to see that they are doing NOTHING to help with this franchise. The constant whining and criticism of this team is ridiculous. There are times that it is warranted, but it should be constructive in nature instead of ranting all the time. Most of what I have seen the past two years stems from unrealistic expectations and lack of patience. Has Randy and his father made some mistakes? Sure! But to think that this franchise is going to turn around overnight is asinine no matter what structure is put in place.
Anyway, I just wanted to say it was a great opinion piece! It's nice to hear that perspective! WE ALL NEED TO STAY POSITIVE AND HOPE FOR THE BEST!
Well written article regarding calling off the boycott. It will only embarrass the city in the national spotlight. The team itself is embarrassing enough at this point.
And regarding Randy Lerner, his heart is in the right place so let's just hope the choice he makes to run the organization is the right choice this time. As you express in the article, I can't blame him for trying and failing. His heart is in the right place. A knowledgeable football man in charge of this organization is what they need and I think Lerner will settle for nothing less this time.
Hopefully with a such a person and a little luck this proud franchise will once again command the respect of the rest of the league.
I've been a Browns fan since I was a student at Kent State 30 years ago. We've been through a lot but I have too much invested emotionally to turn on them now. Thanks for your "adult" perspective.
TEAM! That's all I can say is TEAM! AS fans we have to stick together and support our TEAM! No matter how bad they are.. they are still our Browns. The fan base has always been a huge part of who the Browns are. We are the greatest fans in Pro Football and we need to continue to act like it. We need to maintain our level of fandom... and eventually the Browns will rise to meet our intensity. Show up to the game and take your anger out on the Ratbirds! Don't punish the Browns for what Art Modell did. We are all frustrated and upset..but don't punish the team or portray the Cleveland fan base in the wrong light.
" We need to maintain our level of fandom... and eventually the Browns will rise to meet our intensity." I love how you put that. We need to keep our standards as fans, even if the team struggles to meet them. - Barry
I agree that we should support this team, ESPECIALLY through this difficult time. This support is what makes us different,..it's what makes us BROWNS FANS.
I agree with canceling the boycott. We need to show the football world we are Browns fans that care about our team and want a winner but not by boycotting. Our time will come and everyone will see that Browns fans are the best in the NFL.
In response to your column on the boycott, I agree that we should not do it. I too am sick of watching this team play as terrible as they have, but I think it beats the other alternative... No team at all.
Hopefully we will get better soon. I will continue to watch,no matter how painful, until the Good Lord stops me.
So, please keep up the good work and I will continue to cheer.
Well said man. I have lived in the Carolinas since 1990. It's hard being a Browns fan down here these days, especially with the fact the area has been over ran by yinzers.
Anyway, boycott? Sure, this team stinks right now, but what I would give to be able to be at CBS that Monday night to see my team play live. I guess I'll settle for a bar wearing my Winslow jersey.
Thanks for that Mangini, by the way.
I agree that at this point the "protest" in just piling on, not from the national media which fans like to bemoan but from Browns fans. Our franchise has become enough of a running joke that we don't need to do any more to make Randy Lerner realize how unhappy we are.
No matter how it is couched the players will feel it the most and that is unfair to them. To our knowledge they all do their best to win on game day and we need to continue to support them for that.
Agreed. This boycott is ridiculous. It will help erode the reputation of the loyalty of Browns fans.
I can hear the critics now, "Yup, Browns fans are loyal, but to who? Themselves or the Browns? What a bunch selfish, classless malcontents. But the Packers? Now there are some loyal fans with some class and perspective..."
Packers fans are pretty hard-core. If I had a second-favorite team, it would be Green Bay. Public ownership certainly helps, and I wish that was an option that was available us in 1999. But it's not something that the NFL wants, and their rules have been written to prevent it. - Barry
This sit-out is not going to prove squat, other than making our sensible fans look foolish as well. After seeing Lerner's most recent reactions to the failures of this team I believe he wants to win, but like Barry said he hasn't figured out how. I would rather see an honest mistake than blatant lies such as Modell (may his soul be tormented for eternity).
If anything we should be writing to Lerner giving constructive suggestions because one might just spark the right idea that begins the rebirth of this team. I am a season ticket holder and it pains me to see the ineptitude we have seen over the last decade. Hopefully Lerner can find that great football mind, give them what ever is necessary to fix this mess and bring our beloved team back to greatness!
I couldn't agree more. It is understandable, consumed as we are with anger and disappointment, to want to find a villain ... someone we can pin all the blame on. But you're right ... Randy Lerner is not that guy. Hell, I'm not even sure Mangini is. Still, human nature being what it is, I have no doubt that some people are going to continue howling for his/their blood. Your passionate and eloquent rebuttal should be must-reading for anyone tempted to follow that course. Thank you.
I totally agree that the owner and the coaches don't want this team to suck and are doing their best to turn it around. Same can be said in the past for Phil and RAC, but they just didn't have the skill set to do it. Lerner seems to be a pretty decent guy and I know he's trying hard. Damn, he's writing an awful lot of money in paychecks. Money has never been an object for him. You're right, he just doesn't know how to do it. Hopefully someone can steer him to a strong, experienced GM who can start to turn the ship around and sail it in the right direction.
The boycott will serve no purpose except to further embarrass us in front of a national audience. Cleveland fans are the best in the world, that is why we got another team after Modell slunk out of town. We need to stick by them in the knowledge that one of these days things will turn around for us. And with all the bad press the town of Cleveland has gotten in the past, they don't need this to further aggravate the situation.
I agree with you!
I live in Atlanta. We are currently the laughing stock of the country. All this does is add fuel to that fire. This protest will not make anyone in ownership more aware of anything! They already know more than I care to understand!
I honestly believe that this protest is about the organizers ego more than showing or protesting anything. Protests are always about the guy with the microphone in his hand, just like this!
Bottom line: does this protest make our franchise more valuable or less?
A boycott is stupid and will have absolutely no effect whatsoever. It only punishes the guys on the field who as inept as they seem are still out there giving it everything they have, even though most are not talented enough to compete.
I admire you for standing up and was waiting for it. What we should do is come out to the capacity of the stadium and boo every time the Ravens have the ball. How bout protesting the team that was taken from us and let the entire world know that we are still pissed.
I have been watching this team for 45 years and I don't want the world to know that I have quit backing my team. My wife tells me it's a sickness and I can't disagree. But I can disagree with something that originally was well intentioned but has taken on a life of it's own. I don't have a problem being the laughing stock of the NFL but I do have a problem being known as a quitter. It takes all the glimmer off of what we did in 96 and puts us in the same light as the people that have been seen in NO wearing bags over their heads.
Randy L has bee ostracized by most on this board. Has he made bad decisions? Hell it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. He has been criticized for only caring about his soccer team with no proof of that at all. You don't think it bothers Kosar and JB that we suck so far?
It's interesting that you bring up Saints fans and the bags-on-their-heads protest. From a media perspective, a protest would be far more effective if folks did something like that, since it can be captured on camera and easily understood. Empty chairs? It's hard to tell if someone was protesting, blew off the whole game, or is standing in line waiting for Bratwurst. If you're going to protest, at least make the protesters visible. - Barry
I am a 62 year old fan that has been following the Browns since I was 10 years old , and sat in front of my families first TV and watched Jimmy Brown , Leroy Kelley , and Paul Warfield run rip shod over the rest of the world .
I am siding with you on this topic because I feel that Randy Lerner was put into this situation by inheriting the Team from his dad much the same way I did on a much smaller level .
I just don't see what demonstrating AGAINST your team on national TV is going to do to help this aggravating situation . It is a weak , ineffective type of display , and only goes to attempt to make people feel they are showing support for their team , when in actuality shows their frustration , and just makes everyone feel worse .
I agree with your sentiments. Boycotting the game sends the wrong message. If anything we should be more vocal given the opponent. I wish one of us, any of us could wield the power to get the Browns going in the right direction. I would love to enjoy the same amount of satisfaction that fans of the Steelers, Patriots, and Colts experience year in and year out. Must be nice. I am 46 and have followed the Browns for most of my life. Not because my grandfather or father did, but because I watched the Browns dismantle the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys were my favorite team at the time. After that night, I was a Browns fan forever! I still love the Browns. I support Randy Lerner. I just want somebody to help him get this right. Acting like fools as fans, won't draw the people to Cleveland that can fix this problem.
Perhaps one of my favorite games of all time. I remember watching it on a small black-and-white TV in an Ohio State dorm room. Incredible game for the Browns. - Barry
I can't think of anything more inspiring than a stadium full of rabid fans wearing Orange and Brown and barking harder than they ever have before when their team is the worst in the league. If only for one night this team needs us. I agree with you that a boycott is not needed, not now.
Nice article. I am a former '68-69' season ticket holder. Long time Browns fan. Moved out of state in 1985, but have followed my childhood teams all along. Your site is an excellent vehicle to follow the team. I agree with the sentiments of your column today. But, boy is it hard to care about these browns, in fact they should be called the TANS because I dont think they really are the Browns.
While I detest attention seekers like the gentlemen organizing this boycott, every fiber of my soul hopes they achieve their aims. I was to the point where I wasn't watching the games in hopes of a victory. I was watching these games hoping for massive, embarrassing, lopsided, blowouts hoping it would spur positive change. Now I'm simply not watching, with no plans to do so in the future. I've grown to loathe every single thing about this team from the owner to the coaches to a vast majority of the players to their output on the field. It's sad, but it's true.
Lerner might not be evil, but he is ineptitude personified when it comes to making cogent decisions for this once proud franchise. Maybe his love for the team, the city and the game itself are getting him in trouble. He has made bumbling error after bumbling error, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he's repeating his mistakes. This off-season will tell me everything I need to know about this organization.
Having read the latest article embarrassing this team on CNNSI's home page by Don Banks, I can only hope that Kokinis' attorneys take Lerner to the cleaners for his potentially wrongful firing. That would leave Phil, Romeo and George all collecting paychecks long after their dismissal. Great leadership decisions on Lerner's part. The funny thing is, if Lerner does what's right in my mind at least, we can add Eric's name to that list. Sickening.
All of this neglects to mention the castoff, power hungry head coach with a whopping 0-1 career playoff record with absolute authority that nobody else in the NFL wanted any part of. A man that handpicks the people he eventually throws under the bus when times get tough for him. This speaks volumes to kind of leader he is and why I don't see a quality Free Agent or executive ever coming to this city while he's here.
If Lerner pulls a coup and manages to get an experienced and successful man as a team president or similar title, and this person is given full authority to make the rest of the personnel decisions, there is a possibility I'll start watching the games again. If Mangini has anything to do with this team in the future or Lerner is making personnel decisions on coaches I'm done completely. I simply don't have time to root for a loser for another ten years or spend hard earned money on a game that gives me nothing in return.
I completely understand your frustration. If you think about it, I should feel the same way, since bad football actually hurts my family and employees by causing fans to cancel their OBR subscriptions.
However, I'm not sure that what you want is what the boycott organizers want. They seem to like Randy Lerner, after meeting with him. After getting some time to talk with Lerner myself over the years, I agree with their positive view of him, even if I disagree with a number of his decisions. If convincing Lerner to sell or appoint a football leader (which he seems to be doing) is something you strongly advocate, then I suggest that you find like-minded people and articulate that. The message from this "Brown Out" is now muddled enough that it's hard to tell if your interests and theirs are at all in sync, although I admit to having neither the time or inclination to track the statements made in all the media appearances by protest organizers. Doing so would leave me time for little else. - Barry
Your most recent article disagreeing with the proposed upcoming fan boycott is very insightful,well thought-out,reasonable and well stated. I have never been for the boycott, so thank you for stating the case for even increased fan support vs the Rave-ons.
I don't like the idea of the boycott because it has no substance. DPM says its not about the players, coaches, or ownership then what does it stand for?
I hate the way the Browns are being run and there needs to be some action taken against them to show accountability. It has been 10 years since our return and we have one playoff loss and one other winning season and the rest has been terrible. We do need to stand up and say enough is enough but the boycott is not going to achieve anything productive. We need to get a real GM that can decide if Mangini is the right coach for this team and Mangini should have no say in who his boss is going to be. Randy Lerner needs to find a way to get the right people here and not make more mistakes that have plagued this team since we have been back.
No one knows who can turn this around but most of us knew from the day Mangini was hired he would have too much say on what happens. He is a weasel with a lot of power that he never earned. WE need to get this right before we are not talking about some stupid boycott but talking about how many fans that have lost interest in this team and not buying tickets period.
A final note. I promised myself I wouldn't spend more than three hours editing these emails today because of my other responsibilities at Fox and the OBR. I regret not being able to share with you all the emails I've received, especially since so many fans were so gracious with their time to let us know their thoughts.
This is only about 40% of the emails I originally saved off for re-printing. If time allows and there is interest, I'll produce a follow-up in the coming days.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in to share your opinion, even if your email wasn't in this batch.