Did the Cleveland Browns Ban the Wrong Fan?

Browns Ban

In the first weekend of the NFL season the Cleveland Browns were demolished by the Tennessee Titans by a score of 43-13 and a fan dumped beer on one of the Titans players during the blowout. They looked into the incident and the Browns ban was announced. Now it appears they may have identified the wrong person and are backtracking on the Browns ban. I find their most recent reply to be lacking in an interesting way. I’ll get into that in a moment but first the incident in question.

There are videos and images of the beer pour and the offending fan is being universally panned. From these pieces of evidence, the Browns thought they had identified the culprit. They called him and informed him that he was banned from the stadium. The fan who was called, Eric Smith, told a Browns executive that he was not at the game but was DJing a public event. The executive insisted they had matched a tattoo although in images of the incident the offending fan appears not to have a tattoo. Both men are bearded to the Brown’s credit.

Here’s where it gets fairly interesting for me. It’s quite possible that Smith owned a ticket in the vicinity of the alleged beer dumping and his beard and general appearance led the team to think they had the right person and implement the Browns ban. That’s all well and good although perhaps they should have been more careful before making the call to Smith. Mistakes do happen. It’s the latest reply from the Browns public relations staff that bothers me. I’ll include it here.

Our investigation of the fan incident on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium remains ongoing. While we are continuing to gather information and have been in contact with multiple people as part of that process, we have not explicitly identified the individual involved or taken any formal action of punishment at this time. We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.

This is the sort of mealy-mouthed half-truth I abhor. Perhaps the Browns didn’t official name the fan nor officially implement the ban but the pragmatic reality is the fan has been identified and was told of the banning. Why couldn’t the Browns issue a simple explanation? We thought we had the right person but, in our haste, may have made a mistake. We are continuing the investigation. How difficult is that?

We all make mistakes but it is our reluctance to admit them that leads to far more problems than anything else. We need look no further than the current political climate where a simple mistake in regards to what state would be hit by a hurricane has led us down a path of lies, denials, half-truths, and partisan insanity.

Tom Liberman

Bernie Kosar and Jeff Fisher

Bernie KosarJeff FisherIt seems to be a week for media personalities butting heads with sports personalities here in St. Louis. I’ve been writing about the Jack Clark/Albert Pujols situation but now we have the Bernie Kosar/Jeff Fisher brouhaha.

Fisher is the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and Kosar is the color commentator for the Cleveland Browns. The two teams played a preseason game this year and Kosar made some comments during the game that apparently caught the attention of Fisher.

Kosar was a standout football player for the University of Miami and then the Browns. Fisher is a well-respected and moderately successful NFL coach. Both men should do their job with professionalism, as should we all.

Kosar’s criticism of the Rams play in the game centered on two things; the receivers dropping well-thrown balls and the third-string quarterback, Kellen Clemens. I didn’t hear the broadcast so I can only go by the quotes I’m reading.

Apparently Rams receivers dropped a number of passes and Kosar said that their mothers would be embarrassed. He also made a comment about the receiver coach. That doesn’t seem to be what drew the ire of Fisher as much as what happened next.

Apparently Kosar has a bad history with Clemens. Before Clemens came into the game Kosar said that he, Kosar, was essentially being punished because he didn’t like Clemens. It’s not really clear what he was trying to say because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is clear he doesn’t like Clemens personally. He took a couple of more shots at the quarterback, that had nothing to do with his play on the field, saying he wouldn’t want his autograph and that Kosar needed divine intervention because he had to watch Clemens for the fourth quarter of the game.

It doesn’t help that Kosar is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy which make his speech patterns slurred as if drunk.

Still, I have to question Kosar’s professionalism in letting his personal feelings interfere with his work. He said nasty things about Clemens not only before he was in the game but admitted that the problems were personal in nature. That’s extremely unprofessional.

At my job I do web development work and we do this for a number of clients. One of these is a Christian organization. I’m an atheist. I would never let that influence me in doing my job properly, in helping make the best website possible without any cost overruns. Nor would I publicly criticize the people I’ve met from that organization. I actually like them! They are quite nice and I’ve really enjoyed working on their site.

When we let our personal feelings for a person or an organization prevent us from doing our job fairly, as best we can, then we are unprofessional. It is a reflection on us, on me.

But, back to the situation at hand. A number of people are saying that Fisher should just ignore Kosar. I disagree, when someone is unprofessional they should be called out as such. Otherwise how will they know? I don’t think Fisher will dwell on this and it will go away rather quickly; but I think he is right to lose respect for Kosar. I certainly did. As a head coach it’s part of Fisher’s professional responsibility to stand up for his players. All coaches who care for their players, and all the good ones do, would do the same.

Fisher went out of his way to mention that he has great respect for the Browns’ organization but had a problem with the way Kosar went about doing his job.

Finally as to the Browns themselves. I feel for Kosar, he’s suffering from a terrible brain problem caused by sacrificing his body for the Browns. I can totally understand how they want to employ Kosar. It just seems a little odd to me that you would employ a man who has a difficult time communicating as a commentator. Apparently he is extremely intelligent and knows football very well but has trouble speaking, stringing together coherent sentences.

Maybe we’ll see some good out of this. Kosar will try to be more professional, Fisher and he will make up and that will be that. We can only hope!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook, and it’s good!)
Upcoming Release: The Spear of the Hunt