I watched the Cleveland Browns’ Perfect Parade via Channel 19’s coverage, which you can re-watch here. My impression after watching it? I was “sports entertained,” as fans of the WWE often like to say after an off-the-wall segment. Per the Cleveland Police Department, the parade was estimated to have 2,500 to 3,200 people at its peak.
Besides the freezing temperatures, the worst part of the day was watching the back-and-forth banter among Browns fans online. I respect whether people chose to agree or disagree with the parade, or if they say they hated the idea. What I get irritated by is when a person tells someone else, “you’re not a real Browns fan then.”
Say what you will about the people who went down to FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday, but they were all most certainly Browns fans, decked out in gear with creative signage. People have debated whether this should’ve been called a protest instead of a parade. I don’t think it matters — what I saw on display was a die-hard fanbase that is pleading for help. Even at 0-16, we still love our Browns so god damn much.
That brings me to Emmanuel Ogbah and Danny Shelton, the two players on the Browns who spoke up about it Saturday morning. It started with Ogbah calling the parade a joke and telling “true Browns fans” not to go to it.
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
Later on, Shelton replied to Ogbah’s tweet to agree with him and said the parade shows that [some] Browns fans are “disrespecting their home team.” He also said that the the parade “won’t encourage a change” and is more likely to “encourage other players to avoid the opportunity to play here.”
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.— Feast Mode #55 (@Danny_Shelton55) January 6, 2018
First, I want to acknowledge that Ogbah and Shelton are both two core pieces of the Browns’ defense who played their hearts out this season. But I’m sure that when new Browns GM John Dorsey said the team doesn’t have enough “real” football players, the locker room couldn’t have appreciated it. I feel like a lot of fans jumped to the players’ defense in that case, and yet now we’ve got those same players trying to determine whether we are “real” fans or not? No...just...no.
Trust me, Shelton, players in free agency aren’t going to give a shit about Browns fans having a parade. They might care about the fact that the team just went 0-16, is 1-31 during the Hue Jackson era, and has been so bad since 1999 — we saw that turn away a guy like S Tony Jefferson last offseason. But it also didn’t stop the likes of RG Kevin Zeitler and CB Jason McCourty from coming here. Money talks, and if Cleveland pulls off a deal for a respectable veteran quarterback, players will come and not even have the parade as a thought in the back of their mind.
But I also understand where the players are coming from. They are embarrassed and heartbroken that they couldn’t win a single game. They just want it to be over so they can start fresh, and this parade appeared to be an extension of that misery. Guess what? It’s over. 2018 is a whole new season, and we’ve already got our first offseason rumor for the Browns: a possible trade for QB Alex Smith.