Browns fans show lack of class in beer throwing incident

By Matt Hill
Star Staff

   Cleveland Browns fans sure do have class.
   Low class that is.
   As you probably know by now, a near riot broke out at the Cleveland-Jacksonville game Sunday after a controversial call during the contest propelled the Jaguars to a 15-10 win over the Browns.
  Everything started when the Browns made an apparent first down after a
completed pass from Tim Couch to wide receiver Quincy Morgan. Couch then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 48 seconds to go.
   But after the spike, the officials decided they wanted to review the
previous play. The officials decided it wasn't a catch, and that it was
first down Jacksonville.
   Watching it, I thought it was the wrong thing to do. I don't think you should overturn a play after the next one has been run.
   But that still doesn't excuse what happened after the call was made.
   The Cleveland fans, probably the most loyal fans in the NFL, went nuts. The Browns faithful started throwing a boatload of beer bottles onto the field.
   The crowd reaction was enough to stop the game, but the beer bottles
kept on flying, as well as ice.
   After the game was stopped, NFL commissioner Paul Taglibue said a game had to be completed, so the players who hadn't dressed and showered came out and the game was completed with Jacksonville taking a knee to end the game.
   The few fans that still remained were not finished with their antics.
   More beer bottles and ice came out onto the field. Jacksonville's players left the field through the Cleveland Browns tunnel to avoid being hit by the debris.
   Now to put the whole incident in perspective. There is no excuse to act
like that at a sporting event. The call was the wrong one, but the reaction
was a whole lot worse than the referees making an honest mistake.
   People could have seriously been hurt Sunday. Even the Cleveland
players were having the bottles thrown at them.
   As I was watching this, I was reminded of two years ago when Dallas
Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending injury against the Philadelphia Eagles.
   I thought that Philadelphia sports fans had to be the worse because they cheered Irvin's injury. It angered me so bad I wrote a column about it at the college newspaper I was working for.
   But now I have to apologize to the city of Philadelphia. You've definitely been topped.
   My favorite team has been the Chicago Bears since the days of Walter Payton, Mike Singeltary, and William "the refrigerator" Perry. But I have always had a place in my heart for the Browns. They were my "second team."
   Big emphasis on were, though. That's because after Sunday's debacle, the only times I will ever pull for the Browns is when they play Minnesota or Green Bay.
   I thought it was a mistake moving Cleveland's team to Baltimore after the 1995 season. The Browns have a storied history that few teams in the NFL can match. But after watching what happened Sunday, they can move the team to Anchorage, Alaska for all I care.
   A fan has no right to react during a game like that. I know this may seem like a broken record, but I would hope that something like what happened in Cleveland when never happen around here.
   A person should have more pride in themselves, and they're community to do such a foolish thing. And it's a shame that even the Browns' management saw nothing wrong with what happened.
   I hope the NFL does something to punish the Browns. I think they should put the rest of the Browns home games on the road.
   There more things to get worked up about in this world then a call in a
ball game. I enjoy the NFL, and I watch it every Sunday afternoon. But when my team doesn't win, there's always next week.
   Unfortunately, the fans in Cleveland didn't quite see it that way.