Browns fans are currently in the most depressing times since the team was taken from the city of Cleveland in 1995. They have endured the worst stretch of 32 games in NFL history, going 1-31 in that span. This two-year stretch, including a winless season in 2017, led to Browns fans holding a “Perfect Season Parade” on Saturday.
An estimated 2,500 to 3,200 people by the Cleveland Police took part in the “parade” in 0-degree weather outside of FirstEnergy Stadium on the banks of Lake Erie. Holding signs that denounced the Jimmy Haslam ownership group. It had a fun and happy feeling from all of those that attended.
But this event should have been promoted as a protest, not a parade. The term parade gives off the impression that fans are celebrating this miserable stretch of football. Although the parade was a sarcastic way of a protest, it did not hold the same effect that a protest would have.
Organizer Chris McNeil explained that this event was meant to be a protest. That the attendees of this parade are sending a message to the organization. So why wasn’t it promoted as what it was supposed to be. Using the term protest would have a more serious tone to the organization. This would have been an event that the organization and ownership would have taken more seriously.
But had it been labeled as a protest, it would not be original. Since it was called a parade, national media took on the story and it received attention across social media. A parade being held for a team’s failures is something that no one has seen before, which caused it to get the attention that it did.
The argument “Protest vs. Parade” had Browns fans split on the event. Every Browns fan is angry at what is happening. But to some Browns fans, having a parade is an embarrassment to the fanbase, and even the city. It created a debate between defenders of the parade and those opposed to it. The debate centered around the question: What was the true purpose of the event?
Those opposed to the parade saw it as a way for McNeil and those involved in the parade to get attention. This was more about them and not voicing their opinions of the organization. But those defending the parade said this was a fun way to show the organization how they feel about the team.
The event even angered different Browns players. Emmanuel Ogbah, Danny Shelton, and Christian Kirksey all spoke out against the parade.
That parade is a joke don’t call yourself a true browns fan if you go to that thing! Going 0-16 was embarrassing enough as a player. That is like adding fuel to the fire and it is completely wrong!
— Emmanuel Ogbah (@EmanOgbah) January 6, 2018
There are players on this team who want to play and win for the Browns and The Land. Parading around isn’t encouraging a change, it’s more so encouraging players to avoid the opportunity to play here. 1-31 isn’t what we want to be known for but we won’t stop fighting to win here.
— Danny Shelton (@Danny_Shelton55) January 6, 2018
Parade? Smh really? I’m still rocking with the city and will continue to work my butt off to bring what the city what it deserves, but a parade?….Just keep putting in work, I mean they crucified Jesus and he rose in 3 days and shocked the world…..Browns for life!
— Christian Kirksey (@Kirko58) January 7, 2018
Don’t kick us when we’re down. Lift us up. When we win don’t praise us because I will remember when yal laughed us.
— Christian Kirksey (@Kirko58) January 7, 2018
Although the parade was directed at ownership and the coaching staff, it is not a surprise that the parade offends Browns players. They endured the 0-16 season first-hand for four months, and this parade appears that the fans are dancing on the graves of the players. They are as upset about the results of this season as the fans are.
Which goes back to how this event was promoted. Had this been a true protest, there would be an understanding from the Browns players. They understand that the fanbase demands more out of them, and they need to win games. But since this was held as a parade, the players viewed this as a celebration of their shortcomings this season.
With all that said, the parade did not do what it meant to do. How is this event going to change the feelings of Haslam about where the team is? He understands that the organization has been awful the past two seasons, hence the firing of Sashi Brown. There are questions as to why he did not fire Hue Jackson, but he feels that Jackson was not given enough talent to succeed on the field. Haslam has been firing coaches and executives to attempt to make this team better since he took over in 2012.
And this event also has the potential to look bad on the fans. Although it was a sarcastic parade, national media and those on social media will not care to mention that. They will use any opportunity to make a joke out of the situation. Making a joke of the fans.
So even though the organizers might have had the right idea for holding this parade, it did not do its job. This event is not going to make Haslam realize the fans are upset. He understood that when he saw empty seats in the stadium. What this event did was give off the impression that Cleveland fans celebrate losing, which is the trend that Cleveland fans have been trying to shed for years.