'Ring of Honor' more like ring of fire

So much to talk about, so few words to do it with... 

We could discuss the firing of Manny Acta. 

The Indians? Nah…too depressing. 

We could discuss the impending firing of Pat Shurmur. 

The Browns? Nah…too depressing. 

We could discuss the relatively "safe" job security of Byron Scott.

 The Cavs are still light years away. You guessed it: Nah...too depressing. 

However, I was able to attend the Browns' debacle against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. As bad as the game was, other ceremonies included the induction of former Browns Ernie Green and Clarence Scott into the Browns Hall of Fame. The funny thing about it was, those two gentlemen weren't at the epicenter of the storm otherwise known as Cleveland Browns football. 

Who was? Jim Brown, probably the best running back to play the game in the history of the NFL, that’s who. Why? Because he had apparently patched up his differences with the Browns and team president Mike Holmgren, which in this town is grounds for celebration, baby. After all, as the late Jim Croce’s tune proclaimed, “You don’t mess around with Jim.” 

But you know what? I couldn't care less. 

Don't get me wrong: Jim Brown was a tremendous football player, a human highlight film. And he was a pretty good actor, too. I thought he did a great job in classic Lee Marvin flick, “The Dirty Dozen.” So great, in fact, I even went out and bought the DVD.

Know what that makes me? A big-time hypocrite.

I’m not sure exactly why, but as I was watching the ceremonies at the Browns/Bills match-up, I began to recall the instances Jim Brown had been accused of crimes – most of which occurred against women. Let’s see…twice for rape, another for aggravated assault and a boatload of domestic dispute charges. To be fair, most of the charges were all ultimately dropped – funny how a little cash can affect one’s memory. But to really be fair, it was only twelve years ago – at age 64 – that Brown served five months in prison on a domestic charge. Hey, maybe that's what "dirty dozen" REALLY stands for.

Think of the guys who have participated in Cleveland sports who contributed enough to the sports scene that we saw nothing wrong with their behavior, but the moment they leave town and bolt for greener pastures, we suddenly have "issues"? 

For instance, how about Albert Belle of the great Tribe teams of the '90s? Whenever Albert flipped out on the media, teammates or fans, or had another sort of melt-down, we just laughed, knowingly winked at each other, and said, “That’s our Albert.” The instant he left the Indians via free agency, he reverted to Joey, an alcoholic psychopath. The hero-turned-nutcase couldn’t leave town fast enough, could he?

While we’re talking Tribe, anyone recall Wil Cordero, who played in two different stints with the Tribe, in 1999 and then from 2000-2002. Cordero arrived in town with a reputation for hitting, but as it turns out, it wasn’t just baseballs he was knocking around. As it turned out, he was knocking around not just his first, but his second wife as well. Everyone likes a little consistency in a hitter, right? 

So just what is it about sports that allows us to overlook a professional athlete’s (wink-wink) "shortcomings" – at least for as long as he’s providing some perceived athletic benefit to us? I mean, for lesser transgressions by elected officials or those in a similar public capacity, we grab the torches and pitchforks. 

Kind of scary, isn’t it?

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:26 AM, 10.02.2012