Commentary

Fans making major mistakes by the lake

Clevelander who reportedly tackled kid is latest stain on LeBron's old stomping ground

Updated: November 18, 2010, 5:56 PM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

Cleveland, relax.

You have to get over it. You have to pull back.

The frustration you have seen as a sports city is well-documented. It's so bad you couldn't even make a movie about it -- nobody is going to sit through a six-hour motion picture.

Still, what took place Sunday after the New York Jets beat your Cleveland Browns in overtime was just not necessary.

Not now, not ever.

Not in Cleveland, not anywhere.

The story about an 8-year-old Jets fan who reportedly was tackled by a drunken Browns fan after the game in Cleveland is downright horrible.

Cleveland Browns Fan
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaCleveland fans, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Very ashamed.

The boy went to the game at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a Jets jersey with his father, who was born in New York. Despite the Jets' 26-20 OT victory, the crowd was just fine inside the stadium, according to the boy's mother.

But once they went outside, things turned ugly.

Reportedly, there was name-calling and food-throwing at the kid outside.

Then out of nowhere, some clown filled with liquid courage ran up behind the kid and tackled him to the ground. The kid was left with a scraped and bruised ankle. Now, the kid never wants to go to a game at Browns Stadium again.

You hate to paint an entire city with a broad brush. But in this case, you just have to. This might be the meanest, dirtiest thing to happen in sports.

It was a football game. In the grand scheme of things, nothing more than three hours out of your life on a fall Sunday.

Instead, a poor kid was delivered an unwarranted blow, an uncalled-for punishment because his pops was born in the Big Apple and because he wore a Jets jersey to the game.

We know the word fan is derived from the word fanatic.

And there's nothing wrong with passion for your team and not having love for the opponent. But there is never any room to touch or harm another person because he or she is wearing the other team's colors.

This is sick, twisted.

This isn't what sports is supposed to be about.

Cleveland, relax.

You have gone over the edge and need to get a grip.

Sadly, this isn't the first time the city and its fans have looked bad. The actions after LeBron James' announcement were simply terrible as well. For sure, fans had the right to be disappointed.

After all, one of your own, LeBron from nearby Akron, decided he didn't want to continue his career in his hometown.

Of course, it's a blow. Your city's chance to win a championship for the first time since Jim Brown was running the football basically went out the door when James decided to take his talent to South Beach.

Still, it was over the top to burn his jersey in the streets of Cleveland and react as if the entire city had no sense.

Then there were all those disgusting things said about James, who, by the way, was a free agent and had the right to play anywhere he wanted.

It wasn't enough that James got the lowly Cavs to the NBA Finals once in his seven years in the city. Yes, we know, the Cavs didn't win.

And yes, we know, James represented Cleveland's best chance to taste champagne at the end of a sports season and put your city back on the championship map.

Frustration is one thing. Negative actions carried out on others are another thing.

Cleveland, relax.

It wasn't the first time the Browns lost a football game at home and won't be the last. There's just no room to take it out on anyone after a loss. Ever. Period.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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