The Cleveland Browns are at odds with one another over the fandom
The Cleveland Browns are at an impasse. Not just with one another, apparently but with the fandom as a whole. By now everyone knows about the Browns’ monumental collapse against the New York Jets. The team squandered a 13-point lead in about 90 seconds, and after the historic loss, one in which the team had a 99.9% chance of winning, everyone started picking sides.
Grant Delpit and Denzel Ward started attacking one another, albeit covertly, through the media, and the coaching staff somehow came up with a narrative that scoring touchdowns and getting big leads were the “wrong thing to do”.
Yet, the biggest talking about has been about the Browns fandom and whether or not it’s acceptable to boo your own team. While the fandom itself has its own share of issues, the question about their right to boo is now being questioned.
Browns “leader” Myles Garrett isn’t a fan and basically thinks the team has done nothing to warrant such disrespect, telling Jake Trotter (via Pro Football Talk)
The more disappointing thing was the booing at the end. It was not the most optimal ending to have. Of course, we want to win. Of course, we want to play out the game and it ends 30-16 or 30-17 whatever it was. We get a pick or a strip sack and end the game, but that’s not always how it goes. These guys are still putting their asses on the line and playing as hard as they can and they should be respected as such. It’s two games and we have plenty more to play, especially this next one coming up in front of the home crowd.
We have a lot of time to correct what we are doing so we don’t want to see this crowd, this stadium give up on us this early. We want to see them completely behind us. It’s disappointing for everybody, but it’s absolutely disappointing as a team knowing that we had them with our foot on their throat and we didn’t finish them. That’s completely on us, and we learn from this, correct it and come back stronger.
Garrett has a history of putting his foot in his mouth and acting immaturely, so his stance against the fandom who have invested gobs of money into ever-increasing season ticket prices is 100% in line with what to expect from him. The helmet-swinging-poet sure didn’t seem to mind when fans welcomed him back after he nearly caved in another man’s skull. Supporting such violence should be frowned upon, yet it isn’t.
Booing pathetic play? For Garrett, that’s a line too far.
Joel Bitonio, a future Browns legend and a potential NFL Hall of Famer knows the Browns’ fandom much better than Garrett, and responded in kind, saying to WEWS sports anchor Carly Mascitti;
I’ve been here 9 years now. I’ve been booed at least once every year, as a team. They spend their hard-earned money on supporting the team. They were frustrated and disappointed, just like we were.’
The Cleveland Browns fandom has every right to boo pathetic play
People from Jim Donovan and Marla Ridenour have all addressed the booing, and the sentiment is the same; fans have a right to boo. I agree, fans have a right to boo. They also have the right to not support a product, and some have chosen to do that too.
While it may be hard to defend the Browns fandom as a whole, especially with the Watson of it all, most of the fans are decent people. The fandom as a whole may be hard to stomach due to the vocal minority of trolls that support such vile actions, but it’s important to remember that most fans are truly conflicted on the matter.
It’s important to remember that when addressing the calls from the fandom about the product on the field. Fans, even Browns fans, have a right to boo a downright awful product. While Garrett may want fans to keep things in perspective, the issues plaguing the Browns’ defense are not new.
Denzel Wards are historically inconsistent. The safeties are not very good at their job. There is no true pass rush as a team unless they face truly horrid offensive lines. There are no reliable interior defenders. These are issues that have plagued this team for years. Dating back before Joe Woods ever arrived.
Fans are tired and exhausted from all the emotional drama, scandals, and perpetual messy situations the ownership has allowed to happen. So when you essentially give away a game because of what appears to be in-fighting, yeah, fans are going to boo.
And you can just suck it up and deal with it.