The brews shall ever outweigh any bruise(s)

Maybe you saw the footage of the Browns fan who poured his beer on a Titans player who jumped into the stands during the Browns home opener. Or maybe you watched the video of the fan who was playing with his cell phone and stepped off the top of a van (and broke the fall with his head) while tailgating in the stadium parking lot. (The man's son later came forward to say that his father is epileptic and a seizure caused the fall, but the video had already gone viral as an example of the drunkenness of tailgaters.)

Maybe you, like myself, noted the outrage of other Browns fans aimed at the idiot who dumped his beer on the player, as well as calls for action against the powers-that-be who allow such foolishness as exemplified by the swan-diving van texter to occur at or outside of Browns games.

This just in: It doesn’t just happen at Browns games, people. It occurs regularly at all NFL football games whenever the home team’s in town. And just for the record, all the screaming in the world will not change the reality or the impact of alcohol consumption at football games.

Before we proceed further, understand that this is not a piece aimed at taking a stand either for or against the impact of alcohol at football games. I have been around long enough to have witnessed this sort of thing from both sides of the fence, and for me to side in either direction would be blatantly hypocritical on my part. I simply want to explain why it’s likely nothing of consequence will change in the foreseeable future.

For many years I worked as a vendor at Browns and Indians games, and consequently, I often was around when the games ended. On numerous occasions, following football games, I saw either traffic controllers or traffic cops almost hit by drivers obviously beyond the ability to legally operate a vehicle.

I wondered why the authority in question didn’t get on the radio and put out an APB on the errant driver, so one day I asked a traffic controller what the story was. Now, this was years ago – but I haven’t seen anything to make me think the philosophy has changed – and the controller said that, in so many words, if they began to bust every drunk driver that was leaving a Browns game, as soon as the word got out, folks would soon stop going to the games for fear of getting popped themselves, and eventually, attendance would drop … significantly.

Why, you ask, would this be a problem?

It’s been stated that beer sales at NFL games for any given team over the course of a season, on average, start at $5 million annually. That doesn’t include other drinks, wine, food, or anything else. The city, who employs those traffic controllers and cops, takes a healthy chunk of those sales in taxes. As they do from the parking lots where tailgaters – who often don’t even attend the games – pay to park, so the city also gets a huge chunk in tax revenue from them. And the downtown bars. It goes on and on; often referred to (by me) as the “Golden Goose Syndrome.” In essence, they "look the other way."

The city enjoys a very healthy income from alcohol sales at Browns games. They are not going to do anything to risk interrupting that revenue stream. We can only hope no one gets seriously hurt as a result of the city’s non-intervention.

Now that, I’ll drink to.

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 18, Posted 9:11 AM, 09.17.2019