On Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns banned a fan indefinitely from FirstEnergy Stadium for dumping his beer on Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan during Sunday’s game.
On Wednesday morning, a man who says he was the one banished said the Browns got the wrong guy.
Later Wednesday, the Browns reversed course and said that they have in fact not identified the beer dumper.
— Tom Reed (@treed1919) September 12, 2019
Man claims he was banned, wasn’t at stadium
Cleveland DJ Eric Smith told multiple outlets including the Washington Post that he wasn’t even at the game on Sunday and that he was shocked when he got a call from Browns vice president of ticket sales Bob Sivik informing him of the ban.
He told the Post that he hadn’t been to a Browns game in years and was working a wedding Sunday at Cleveland reception venue Ariel International Center.
He also posted about it on Twitter.
I legit just got a got from the @Browns telling me I've been banned from the stadium for throwing the beer in Logan Ryan's face Sunday. I'm fairly certain I haven't been to a game since 2010.
— Eric Smith (@TheBeardedDJ) September 11, 2019
Smith’s account of what might have happened
Smith told the Post that Sivik told him that they knew that the name of the offending fan was Eric Smith.
He proposed that the team found him through his DJ business via internet search, saw that he resembled the person caught dumping beer on Ryan and concluded that it was him.
“Maybe they Googled ‘Eric Smith’ and ‘beard’ and ‘Cleveland’ or something,” Smith told The Post. “My company has pretty good SEO so I do come up [in Google searches]. In one of the first pictures, you can see a tattoo on my forearm.”
Here’s a picture of Smith:
Here’s video of Logan having beer dumped on him while celebrating with Titans fans in the stands after a Malcolm Butler interception.
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2019
None of this proves or disproves either Smith’s or the Browns’ original alleged account. But it appears that the Browns are now convinced that it wasn’t Smith.
Wednesday’s reversal from the Browns was the team’s first comment on the matter since a statement announcing the ban on Tuesday.
“This individual person’s action is not tolerated in our building as it is not reflective of our fan base or city,” the statement read. “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 for our fan code of conduct.”
For now, the investigation continues, and it appears that Smith’s name is now cleared.
It also sounds like the Browns got ahead of themselves in the investigation.
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