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“I don’t like the Browns because they make me feel good. I like them because they’re the Browns. The franchise is highly guilty of lacking the exalted, trebly end of bathos, but they’re not evil or a scam, they’re just shitty—just like me and lots of other people. It sucked when they moved to Baltimore in 1995—it sucked so much that Susan Faludi has a chapter in one of her books about the feelings of betrayal and loss that it inspired in Browns fans. We watched the press conference where Art Modell formally announced the move on a TV set in the middle of my 9th grade biology class. The new Browns are shittier than the old Browns, but it’s still a perfectly good football team. I was never happier in my football-watching life than when Eric Metcalf returned his second punt of the game for a TD against Pittsburgh in 1993, but when William Green, who later missed time when his fiancée stabbed him with a kitchen knife, uncorked a 64-yard TD against Atlanta in 2002 to clinch a playoff spot, the new Browns were the real Browns as far as I was concerned. Even though I dance aroundthe dumpster fire and mutter about abandoning the Browns a few times every year, I’m never going to leave. No amount of losing or cutaway shots to Pat Shurmur looking like Beaker from The Muppets made flesh, no bad draft picks, no anything can make me not a Browns fan.” [Pete Beatty/The Classical]
On Native American imagery and sport: “Some people view these developments as a long-overdue response to offensive stereotypes; others view it as political correctness run amok. Either way, the issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
The intersection of sports and Native Americans is a touchy area, and it frequently descends into angry name-calling. But I don’t think it has to be that way. If you’re fine with the use of Native American imagery, that doesn’t automatically make you a racist. And if you’re opposed to it, that doesn’t make you an activist crusader. In short, I think reasonable people can disagree on this issue.” [Paul Lukas/ESPN]
Shelley Duncan gets his 2012 season put under the microscope. [Let’s Go Tribe]
We know how you’re feeling, Tampa Bay. Well, without the whole winning thing: “All of which is to say, the Rays can easily afford to give Price a big contract extension, or just ride out the three years of team control they have left before he can test the open market. Ditto for the just-purchased-for-$800-million Padres and a Headley extension (or two more years), the Mariners with a new Felix deal or two more years, and plenty of other young stars on teams not named the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers. Claiming otherwise amounts to concern-trolling. It offers a bullshit excuse for teams to cry poor as they sell off their best players. And as history has shown, the prospects who poor-mouthing teams acquire when they unload star players often turn out to be little more than magic beans with a pulse.” [Jonah Keri/Grantland]
And finally, can the Browns defend the passing game of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco? [Dawgs by Nature]