For Carlos Lopez and his wife Lala, living in Los Angeles, CA as a Cleveland Browns fan can be difficult at times. Surrounded by a plethora of fans of other NFL teams can be a little intimidating. So what’s the worse that could happen by heading to the Coliseum, a.k.a. “The Black Hole” to see his Browns battle the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon?
Recently, Browns fans have come under scrutiny from a Pennsylvania woman who had a “bad experience” at Cleveland Browns Stadium for the division rival game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in which Cleveland won. Her and a bus full of Steelers’ followers attended the game and were heckled by the orange and brown faithful. The woman was so distraught about her time at the game, she decided to email The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s mainstream newspaper.
The woman wrote, “We could not walk down the street without a man, woman or child giving us “the finger” or shouting obscenities in our faces.” To use the infamous Mike D’Amatoline, “Are You Kidding Me!” What did you expect lady? Did you expect the fans to welcome you and your friends with open arms, then drop rose petals at your feet as you walked on our turf? What about in 2006 when a man wearing Browns clothing was hit by a car and killed right outside of Heinz Field? Did you forget about that? My point is not all fans are like that of the mostly whiny Steelers’ fans.
While attending yesterday’s game in Oakland, Carlos known as “Fox” to his friends had a great time in Raider nation. When talking to Fox about how he and his wife were treated completely covered in orange and brown, he had this to say “Raider nation are as committed as Browns fans. There were three knuckleheads that used profanity on us, but that is normal, as we’re in their house. They were the type of fans that just go there to party and don’t know anything about football anyways.” There are fans like these in every stadium in the NFL.
According to Fox, the silver and black faithful are very similar to the dawg pound followers. Talking about what he liked about the fans in Oakland, Fox told me “A lot the fans came up to us at the tailgate and said hi to us, shook our hands, and even gave us hugs. As I waited outside the Port-a-Potty, a Raider fan ran up to me and told me he just had to show some respect.” This is a prime example of how it’s all about how you approach the situation.
Everything you hear about how your not supposed to wear your teams’ colors in The Black Hole is false advertisement. For two hardcore Browns fans that have there own custom “East Los Browns Fanz” tee shirt business on the side, going to the game is just another memory to cherish.
In times when it is very hard to be Browns fan because of the team’s poor play over the last 13 years, to Mr. and Mrs. Lopez, slapping high fives to other Browns fans passing by after the game amidst a sea of silver and black was just what the doctor ordered.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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