Browns' 'win at all costs' approach should cost them fans

Well, that certainly didn’t last long, did it?

I’m referring, of course, to the lavish praise with which I bathed Browns GM John Dorsey after the spectacular job he did in his year-and-a-half on the job by making nothing but brilliant moves in bringing the Browns back to respectability. I mean, I went “all in” with these guys. I even started to give Jimmy Haslam credit for not getting in Dorsey’s way.

And then this.

On the off-notion that you have nary an idea as to that which I refer (I’m trying to raise my writing game by throwing some rarely used words your way – but doubt it will help) I’m talking about the Browns' signing of running back and local “hero” Kareem Hunt to a contract. (Where’s Haslam when you need him?)

Did you hear the one about them signing Kareem because they wanted to strengthen their “kicking” game?

That, of course, comes courtesy of the local comedians who refer to the allegation that Hunt beat and then kicked a 19-year-old woman after she was on the ground. Hilarious. Maybe they’ll show the TMZ video of Hunt doing his thing on the scoreboard during the halftime at home games during the regular season.

Hunt has issues – clearly. He says he’s going to get help. Of course, he’s currently suspended from the NFL while they investigate his case. That couldn’t have influenced Hunt’s sudden need for “help” now, could it?

The Hunt apologists (typically fans who want to win – right now – at any cost) say that “everyone deserves a second chance.” First of all, where is that written? It’s a convenient little catch-phrase that’s bandied about whenever deemed necessary, but I’m not exactly sure it’s a First Amendment right. And would you still be going with such a righteous stance if it was your sister, cousin or friend Hunt smacked around? Besides, this guy had been in trouble before this incident, so in reality the second-chance ship has already sailed. As have the third and fourth chance ships, so “stow it, Matey.”  

Then we hear about other “known” NFL criminals like Ray Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger, etc. and how these guys did “worse stuff” (oh, you mean like Jim Brown did?) and still play(ed). Isn’t that the kind of logic that your mother would respond with, “Just because Stevie does something wrong doesn’t make it okay for you to do the same!” I hated it when Mom zapped me with that silly “logic” stuff. Mostly because Stevie got away with it and I didn’t. But she was right.

The best justification though, has to be, “we’re all hypocrites when it comes to sports.” Can’t argue that. I remember a couple of decades ago when my team – the Indians – signed known wife-beater and first baseman Wil Cordero. I believe my thought process at the time was something along the lines of, ”He did it with the White Sox and not with the Indians,” which I guess somehow made it less of a crime. You know, like when he crossed the state line into Ohio he gained some kind of sainthood or something.  

So how can I excuse my ignorance of those years passed? I can’t, other than to say I was young and stupid back then. Today, I am old and stupid just a little wiser, I hope.

We could have a whole discussion on how we – as a society – have ourselves created these “problem athletes” by placing them on a pedestal at an early age and then showering them with riches for playing a child’s game. It fosters an invincible, above-the-law mindset which they carry with them into adulthood. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. We can talk about that another time.

For now, I hope there’s a backlash surrounding the signing of Kareem Hunt. My guess is the Browns took the PR risk because the surge in “Browns fever” has been – much like Kareem Hunt’s actions – “monstrous.”

It will take some time for me to regain the enthusiasm I had for the Browns. It will return much quicker, however, if they right the wrong they committed in the name of “winning now” and do as the Kansas City Chiefs did: release Kareem Hunt.

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 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 02.19.2019