Today is a day to be proud, not embarrassed, Browns fans
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns have the best fans in the NFL, a fact that was on display Saturday outside of FirstEnergy Stadium.
A group of Cleveland Browns fans gathered together on Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium to protest decades of losing, dysfunction and disappointment from their favorite team.
And the city, region and franchise survived.
Attendance at the Perfect Season Parade was estimated to be between 3,000 to 5,000 people, who joined together on a day when the temperature was in the single digits to put a public face on their displeasure.
Meanwhile, on social media, people stamped their feet and held their breath in anger, upset that a group of fans would have the audacity to publicly shake their fist at a franchise that less than a week ago closed out just the second 0-16 season in league history.
In a city where crime, poverty and education are major issues, there were actually people who were “embarrassed” by the protest.
The angst even extended to the players, with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah tweeting out a shot at the participants, chastising them for not being “real fans.” (An argument that we have never fully understood.)
The fact that so many people were agitated by the parade is a sign of its success. An even bigger, and more important, sign is that the event raised canned goods and almost $15,000 for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. When you consider that, according to the food bank, $1 equals four meals, that is worth a little bit of “embarrassment.”
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That should be the lasting takeaway from today — a group of Northeast Ohio residents worked together to help some of the most needy of their neighbors.
Along the way they also shined a public light on a franchise that seems to move further away from being an actual NFL team with each passing day. The memories of today will fade in the coming days, but the Browns will still be the team that willingly brought back a head coach with a record of 1-31 since taking over the team.
The fact that so many people had opinions on the event, both pro and con, reveals that despite all the losing the Browns still hold a special place in Northeast Ohio. No one was protesting when the Cleveland Indians were a laughingstock for 40 years; heck fans were barely going to the games. The same can be said of the Cleveland Cavaliers for large periods of their history.
But the Browns have always been different and today is another example. You can only push people so far, no matter how much they love something, before they feel the need to push back.
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Today, the fans pushed back and, in the process, did some real good for the region. It likely won’t make a difference with owner Jimmy Haslam or anyone associated with the team, but that doesn’t mean the day wasn’t a success.
It was also a day to be proud, rather than embarrassed, to be a Browns fan.