DETROIT - It was supposed to garner the attention of the Lions ownership.
Instead, an array of protests during the Lions loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday may have adversely affected the team -- and, perhaps on a smaller level, been responsible for the lethargic play of the ball club.
That was the sentiment drawn from Lions' cornerback Dre' Bly, who was critical of the percentage of fans that wore orange and black -- the colors of the Bengals -- and showered the players with boos and decorated the stadium with anti-Millen signage.
"It was bad," said a noticeably bothered Bly. "You would think with us going through what we're going through right now fans would have our support. I feel like if you're a true lions fan you'll stick with us through hard and rough times and you won't come to the stadium with all that black and orange on."
"We're still players and we need the support, we need the fans to support us, but it was embarassing. I know they're frustrated, they deserve to frustrated, but you don't have to stoop that low -- to come to a game with orange and black and to boo when we come out.
"That's a low blow. They've been very supportive since ever I've been here. It's just like a marriage, through rough times, you have to have your spouses back and support and work things out. That's what I was expecting, and that's what I expect."
But did it affect the team's play? Yes, acknowledged Bly, who recorded his sixth interception of the season during the 41-17 loss.
Added Bly: "I came out flat. When I came out for pregame (warm-ups), I didn't have energy. When I looked up in the stands it disgusted me to see all the orange and black. And when I came back in I tried to pump myself back up. But when you're at home, you expect support, you expect for the fans to be your 12th man. It was crushing to us when we came back in and saw the orange and the black and the boos.
"When I was pulling up to the stadium I saw all the orange in the parking lot. It was frustrating. "Maybe if they wouldn't have worn the orange and black, we would have won."
Lions' quarterback Joey Harrington, who entered the game late in the fourth quarter but threw a touchdown pass, wasn't surprised by the display.
"The way that they (the media) built it up, I did (expect it)," he said. "I was happy to see that things didn't get out of control. I was surprised by the nature of it, but you never like to come to your home stadium and see people wearing the opposing team's color."
A few other Lions recognized the frustration that the fans have endured.
Said running back Artose Pinner: "Initially when I first walked out there I thought I was at an away game - with all the orange out there," he said. "But I can understand the frustration of our fans. They deserve to have a winning football team here in Detroit. They have a winning basketball team, they have a winning hockey team and they deserve a winning football team which is something they haven't had in a long time."
Wide receiver Roy Williams concurred, but was optimistic that the team will eventually turn it around -- albeit not this season.
"Well, it's not disappointing," said Williams. "I know, and we know, that they are Lions fans at heart. They are just trying to get a point across to us and to management and we understand that. We just have to go out there and perform better. It's coming. It's coming."