The Infamous 2017 Cleveland Browns Loser Parade
A couple of months ago as the Browns were in the midst of a zombie-like stumble through a futile and winless regular season, an idea began to take hold among the fanbase: a parade commemorating a perfect season. In fact, a Browns fan went so far as to launch a GoFundMe with the intention of financing such a parade. In December, as the possibility of the second 0-16 regular season in NFL history closed in, the Chicago Tribune reported that headache medicine manufacturer, Excedrin had pledged more than $7,000 to help finance the demonstration saying, “We understand their pain.”
As we now know, the Browns did indeed fail to win a single game this past season and so the parade was on. Many gathered yesterday to watch as well as to participate as the procession traced a gigantic, symbolic zero-shaped parade route around the stadium. The Guardian quoted Browns fan and organizer Chris McNiel who explained it thusly: “We are not having a celebration of losing, we are having a protest of losing. We want to let the Browns ownership and front office know we are holding them accountable for having such a bad team. And maybe we’ll have some fun while doing that.”
Cleveland police estimated that approximately 2,500 – 3,200 people showed up for the event despite miserable, frigid weather conditions. I was surprised that many people were willing to brave the elements to make a statement to ownership/management that they’re not happy, but I am glad they did. For all the grief it gets, Cleveland seems to be a pretty good sports town. More than a million people showed up for the Cavaliers’ championship parade when LeBron helped bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy to “Believe-land” and I am guessing that attendance figures for Saturday’s Loser Parade weren’t buoyed by band-wagoners and neutral spectators like the NBA Championship parade must have been. If you went out of your way to show up on Saturday, odds are you genuinely care.
Some media and players have criticized the fans sharply for putting the event on, but I don’t think any of them have the right to tell the fans how to behave. There is no book on what fans should do in this situation since no team has ever lost 31 games in two NFL seasons so of course the fans bristled at players telling them how to mourn. Players come and go, but fans are there for the long haul, and, if they’re true fans, I don’t begrudge them wallowing in their misery just a bit. If it sparks change, how bad can it really be?
If there are any Browns fans out there or similarly tortured supporters, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below. A quick search of the hashtag “#BrownsParade” on Twitter reveals some amazing images and quotes, but you can find some of my personal favorites embedded below:
— Joseph Evener (@JosephEvener) January 6, 2018
You’ve been on this team for about 45 minutes, kid. You don’t get to tell me I’m not a fan and say I’m not real bc I’m not kissing your ass and saying, “There’s always next season.” 1-31 isn’t acceptable. When you move on in two years, I’LL. STILL. BE. HERE. #BrownsParade https://t.co/YLpvM9I138
— Justin (@Joker8506) January 6, 2018
— Jake Corcoran (@Jake_Corcoran) January 6, 2018
— Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer) January 6, 2018