One Big Post: What Is Loyalty?


From time to time, some folks take our brand of humor to mean that we aren’t loyal to our team.  They ask how we can claim to love the Browns when we spend so much time making fun of them.  This is my response.

I’m Not Loyal To The Cleveland Browns Organization

That may sound shocking at first take, but it’s the truth.  The Cleveland Browns football organization, the front office and such, I feel no connection to whatsoever.  They’ve done nothing but lie, mislead, and consistently fail to do justice to our proud history through their inept failures.  My loyalty is to the fans, the community, the history and to an extent, the players and coaches.  I say to an extent, because players like Kellen Winslow Jr and Braylon Edwards I never felt any loyalty to.  Guys like Joe Thomas, Phil Taylor, and D’Qwell Jackson, those guys who bust their asses and put it on the line for this city, THOSE guys I feel loyal to.  Coaches like Chud, who made it their mission in life to coach for this team, those guys I hold loyal to.  Jimmy Haslem, Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi?  Not so much.

I Am Loyal To My Fellow Fans And Our Great Community, The Dawg Pound.

I’ve never pretended like anything but my fellow fans were my number one priority.  And since my loyalty to this community far outweighs any connection I have to the organization, it fires me up when I see my friends and fellows continue to suffer.  I often recount growing up, a young kid who got to sit in the Dawg Pound.  I remember how crazy everyone seemed, but how nice they were to me, even then.  I remember, one of my favorite moments as a child, when I got to meet Michael Dean Perry and his brother, The Fridge.  I was maybe five, and MDP picked a very little me up and put me on his shoulders at the behest of some rowdy Dawg Pound folks.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little spooked, but I felt (and probably was) 10 feet tall.  Over the years, I’ve met so many great fans and great players.  And I’ve watched them all suffer.  And why? It drives me nuts that the organization that we carry the banners for humiliates us and makes us a figure of fun throughout the country.  Because we deserve so much better than this pathetic joke of management.  We are the best, the very best fans in the country.  I can say that objectively, as I’ve been all over this great land of ours.  There is no other place where fans have stayed as faithful, as loyal, and as optimistic as we have in Cleveland.  And how have we been repayed for our stalwart loyalty?  Ask fired Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski how his loyalty was repaid, when he landed his dream job, to coach the team he loved growing up.  He was fired after 11 months for not turning water into wine and winning with no running back (except one they got from a nursing home who managed only 377 yards on 138 attempts), and 14 games of Campbell and Weeden starting.  The defense certainly struggled down the stretch, but this was their first year under a completely new system with all new coaches.  The front offices plan to fix it?  Scrap it all and start over, again!  Brilliant.

The Front Office Will Need To Earn My Trust and Loyalty.

I don’t mean this in a self-important kind of way.  I realize they probably care less than none about earning mine, or any other individual fans, loyalty and trust.  However, the sum of all of us distrusting them, and not giving them our loyalty without their earning it is a powerful thing.  When Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi show they can find “the” head coach, when they show they can do better in the draft, when they show they can not completely fail in free agency, and when they show that they either give a damn or can actually get this right, then maybe I’ll come around.  In the meantime, when they make terrible decisions, I’m going to call them on it.  I’m going to make fun of them, because the fans deserve better.  At the end of the day, that’s it to me.  The Cleveland fans, the Dawg Pound, we just deserve so much more than this.  Period.

 

Shawn is an Army Sergeant, husband to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three, and lead writer/publisher here at Dawg Pound Nation.  You can follow him on twitter @ShawnMStarr.

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