Cleveland Browns fans are upset. Even if they understood why coach Rob Chudzinski had to be fired after one season, it's still a sign that the organization is capable of a massive failure in hiring him in the first place.
A television reporter, Dan DeRoos of Action 19 News in Cleveland, took the fans' discontent straight to owner Jimmy Haslam's press conference.
Prefacing a long question to Haslam by saying it came from Browns fans to the station's Facebook page, DeRoos let it fly. He said, via the fans, that the franchise was an "embarrassment" and they've "encouraged apathy instead of hope," among other things. Then came the highlight moment, when he asked Haslam (with general manager Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner beside him),"Jimmy, can you assure the fans – their words, not mine – that you don't have the three stooges running this operation?"
Let's pause to look at Haslam's reaction to DeRoos' question ...
Haslam totally missed out on the chance to reply with, "Oh, a wise guy eh?" He replied with some cliches about having the right people in place, having the best fans and the team caring so much about winning.
Whether you think the question was inappropriate or a publicity stunt or whatever, it gets at the frustration of the Browns fan base.
Haslam, like most of the press conference, seemed to be upset that they're continually called the "same old Browns," but always quickly threw in a qualifier that people have the right to say and write that. Haslam should understand that the NFL is based strictly on results, and the best path to having nice things said about you is producing a good team, not just hoping people will start charitably saying nice things. The Browns franchise hasn't gotten to that point. Maybe they will, but the inexplicable mistake – either in hiring Chudzinski in the first place or firing him after just a year – doesn't inspire confidence.
NFL.com quoted anonymous Browns players who were unhappy with the firing of Chudzinski.
"This organization is a joke," an unnamed Browns veteran told NFL.com. "I'm completely in the dark about this. Please (rip them). I feel for Chud. He was good to us."
Added another veteran: "We are so dysfunctional. These billionaires need to pick somebody and stay with them."
If the Browns don't get it turned around fast, that "Three Stooges" nickname might stick for a long time. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
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