I grew up in Cleveland and to this day I remain an avid fan of the Browns/Indians/Cavs. We are all so proud of LeBron & Co for their heroics and Tito and the Tribe for coming oh so close. It is with great shame that I now realize and admit that I played a role in the tragic move of the Browns to Baltimore.
Along with millions of other sports fans, I sat idly by in 1984 while Robert Irsay moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. We all saw the pictures of the Mayflower moving vans pulling out in the middle of a dark, snowy night. We sat in silence, never said a word. What did we care? After all, it didn’t “affect” us, right? Wrong.
Little did we know that our deafening silence would later lead to the tragic theft of our precious Brownies followed by decades of fan frustration and agony. Gone were the pride, the spirit and the legacy. We were left with little more than the memories of an NFL Championship (1964), the greatest player in the history of the game (Jimmy Brown), one of the greatest rivalries in football history (the Steelers) and dreams of a return to glory.
This all could have been avoided had the NFL simply granted Indianapolis (a city that has proven its worthiness) an expansion franchise and denied the Colts move. Why didn’t this happen? Simply put – because we all sat on our asses and said nothing while the owners of “unaffected cities” gave Irsay the green light. We were so apathetic.
All that ends now. The FanFairness Initiative is all about building fan awareness and support in the “unaffected” cities to encourage their local owner to vote against relocations such as that currently proposed by the Oakland Raiders. As fans, we need to stand with our brothers and sisters in Oakland and demand that our local owners vote “no”. Stop the stadium madness!
Patrick Healy, Native Clevelander & Founder FanFairness InitiativeHave your own story you want to share?