Wednesday morning, ESPN caught the ire of Cleveland Browns fans when they tweeted the following: that 21 years ago, Bill Belichick was fired as the head coach of the Browns.
The tweet is meant to convey a feeling of, “LOL — Look what stupid decision the Browns made 21 years ago, firing one of the greatest coaches of all time.”
There’s just one problem: 21 years ago today, the Browns were without a franchise. On February 8, 1996, Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement to preserve its history, forcing the team in Baltimore to become the "Ravens." Still, that meant that when Belichick was officially fired a week later by Art Modell, he was acting as owner of the Baltimore Ravens, not the Cleveland Browns. You can read the New York Daily News article from the time it happened 21 years ago.
Other outlets, such as Sports Illustrated, have mentioned the history as well:
Maybe they deleted this tweet because they realized THE BROWNS DIDN'T EXIST 21 YEARS AGO TODAY!! pic.twitter.com/AsKTazJHZ2— Ryan (@RyInCBus) February 15, 2017
To SI’s credit, they actually deleted their initial tweet after the backlash, and issued a more appropriately-phrased tweet:
As of this post, ESPN has yet to rectify their error.