The fan was sitting in the front row of the Dawg Pound when Malcolm Butler intercepted QB Baker Mayfield and returned the errant pass for six points. After crossing the goal line, Butler spotted a fan wearing a Titans jersey near the right corner of the end zone and did his best Lambeau Leap onto the Pound’s padded wall. The pick six elevated the Titans lead to 36-13 at that point and was Mayfield’s second interception of the game.
The Titans fan, wearing a Derrick Henry number 22 jersey, pats the player on the back while Titans teammates join him in the celebration including Ryan. In the meanwhile, the bearded Browns fan, wearing a Mayfield jersey, flings beer from his blue Bud Light aluminum can towards the players in intervals and eventually empties his beer can towards Ryan.
Ryan tagged the NFLPA in his tweet to which they contacted NFL security. From there, the Browns did some research and then submitted a statement:
“This individual person’s action is not tolerated in our building as it is not reflective of our fan base or city,” the team said in its statement. “We are currently addressing the situation internally, along with NFL Security, and we believe we have identified the person involved. He will ultimately face an indefinite ban from FirstEnergy Stadium for the unacceptable behavior, which is in clear violation of our Fan Code of Conduct.”
After identification of the fan, he was banned indefinitely from the stadium. Ryan was interviewed on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday about the incident and stated:
“In this day and age it’s ridiculous. I understand that we play football. I understand that we’re modern-day gladiators. I understand that fans feel like they can yell and say and degrade, whatever, but you know, we’re human beings. And I think in society nowadays that’s, with everything going on and everybody deserving their rights, I think as a player to hop up over the rail and to have beer splashed in your face, and you’re not allowed to respond. Fans are allowed to throw beer in our face and yell whatever they want to yell at us and there’s no penalty?”
In a separate tweet, Bud Light representatives stated:
“PSA: this is not how you do a #BudLightCelly. Don’t be this guy.”
Former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas pointed out that it is a violation of league rules to do that in an opposing team’s stadium, although it’s not clear where that stipulation is in the rule book.
Violation of league rules to jump into the stands as the visiting team: you should expect beer dumped on you every time (nobody would waste #73Kolsch by @GLBC_Cleveland, so expect piss water beer at that) https://t.co/2nH4OI6EsD— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) September 10, 2019
Every team in the league knows about the Dawg Pound. From past experiences, this incident appears pretty tame but certainly cannot be tolerated. The fan knew better and hopefully this doesn’t begin a ban on players leaping into the Dawg Pound for fan interaction. It is a lack of respect to the athletes who play the game. Yes, they are opposing players who scored against your team and helped with the victory. But an act like this becomes more jerk than fandom. One thing is certain, that fan wasted an $8 beer.
UPDATE: Per Cleveland Scene, the fan that the Browns banned was not at the game: