Why I am a Cleveland Browns fan.

Like my father, and visionary Ohio State National Champion and first Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown, I have always hated the ignorance, hatefulness, and societal corrosiveness of racism. Under their very first coach, and arguably also the actual team architect of the very first Cleveland Browns team, that same Paul Brown, the first Browns team fielded the first African-American players of the modern era of American Professional Football to kick off the 1946 season, two full weeks before the Los Angeles Rams, who had just left Cleveland following the 1945 season, sent their own two African-American players onto the field, and several months BEFORE Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn, and Larry Doby in Cleveland broke the modern-era color line in Major League Baseball. --- In those early years, when the Browns would travel to play the Miami Seahawks in the Deep South, the black team members, much to Coach Brown's distress, were forced to stay in a separate motel from the white players. Brown may have had to accept that, as Jim Crow still had its steely grip on the southern states, but he would have none of it amongst the players on his team. If any player would refuse to shake hands with and accept as his equal his black teammates, they would be quickly traded to some other team to ply their trade ! --- I was born in 1954, a year in which the Cleveland Indians won an incredible 111 games and the American League pennant, Ohio State again won the National Collegiate Football Title, and The Cleveland Browns won The National Football League Title, which they had also actually captured in their very first year in the NFL, 1950, and would again in 1955, and the year I turned 10, in 1964. As history will attest, 1954 was also the year that the U.S. Supreme Court passed down its historic Brown vs Board of Education decision, striking down forever the false doctrine of "separate but equal" educational opportunities for Americans of every color and background, and paving the way for the integration of public schools and accelerating the already restive civil rights movement in America. --- That my favorite professional football team, The Cleveland Browns, played a very noteworthy role during some of the earliest stages of such important societal change will always be, for me, a huge source of pride in my chosen sports city and for my team. I lived through the excitement of Jim Brown, Paul Warfield and the 1964 title team, the excitement, exhilaration, and ultimate heartbreak of Brian Sipe, Doug Dieken, Dave Logan, and Sam Rutigliano and "The Kardiac Kids" in the 1980 season. I suffered mightily living through "Red Right 88 ", "The Drive", and "The Fumble" I watched Brian Brennan work his magic and fearlessness to near greatness in the late 1980's. I wore plastic icicles on my bare chest at a Division title game against Bum Phillips and the old Houston Oilers in an 11-degree raging blizzard, one of several times I was shown on local TV. One time a Cleveland Police Officer grabbed my right bicep and asked me to "come along' with him. I asked why, "did I do something wrong?" "No", he said, "please just come along with me for a minute." He called out to an officer in the upper deck and said, " Hey, take a look at this guys hair ! " I had it standing straight up about 7-8 " and sprayed with hairspray and orange coloring. Both officers were black and they just got the biggest charge out of my 'do" ! It was during the '80's and '90's when some of Cleveland's Finest nicknamed me "Poster Dawg". They would shout out to me from horseback or on the concourses and in the stands to inquire, "Hey Poster Dawg, what've you got THIS week? " --- At the final game at the old Municipal Stadium, I had a sign on a stick, a no-no for that game because of the fears of violence, but they laughed and let me pass, because my sweatshirt matched my sign, which depicted owner Art Modell with his pants down, "shooting the 'moon' " with a shoe print on his butt, and saying "Get Outta Town"... and on the back, the same picture with "Browns" emblazoned across his butt and saying, "Leave the Name BEHIND" ! --- With my 2 sons and their teenaged friends, we distributed my handmade "Pinocchio Modell" face-signs with die-cut eyeholes and tongue depresser stick-holders and also Bill Belichick faces with an arrow through his head at the "Million Fan March" and at that final game. I was at the Drew Carey taping at the old stadium where he told me., "I love those things!", pointing at my Pinocchio Modell signs. I said "Do ya, I made them !" I gave him three and still have the one he kindly volunteered to autograph for me ! I will be a true, proud, dyed-in-the-wool, and eternally loyal Cleveland Browns fan, win or lose, until I breathe my last ! --- GO BROWNS !!!

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