The Cleveland Browns, apologies and forgiveness

I know this might come off as an overly emotional post wherein it seems like I’ve lost my grip. Just imagine me coming off a week-long vacation where I’m pretty unemotional about sports. I am not sad or mourning or anything like that. I just found this to be an interesting lens through which to look at the Browns—specifically their need to apologize for how bad their season was, and what it means going forward. That said, I accept the Haslams’ apology about this year’s Cleveland Browns season.

I don’t know if anyone else did, and I wasn’t bowled over by the letter to season ticket holders, but I found it appropriate. It’s a positive thing to hear Jimmy Haslam step up once again and claim responsibility for his horrendous record as owner of the team. There’s luck throughout the universe for sure, but it only exists at the margins. You can’t be as bad as the Browns have been since Haslam purchased the team and blame that on downside luck. So he did owe fans an apology because he’s the only one who has any ability to change things. Accepting an apology is one thing. Forgiving Jimmy Haslam and his crew is going to take a whole lot more.

The internet is riddled with conversation talking about the difference between accepting an apology and forgiveness. It seems that there has to be a combination of these two things in order for people to move along from something that warranted an apology. The apology is like the turning point from the downward trend and hopefully signals a new one upward. Forgiveness can only be achieved as improvements and amends are made on the way to a better future together. Absent that, the apology either signals the end of a relationship or a reminder of a negative past and an unfulfilled promise to change and do better.

I know this is all a little bit emo for a sports website. The issue here is that Jimmy Haslam can’t guarantee success. He can keep the people he’s hired for three years or longer and let them work on their plan, which is continuity and somewhat positive by itself. He can stop being meddlesome with a hair-trigger firing finger, but what that means to a spurned Browns fan is something else entirely. For far too long Browns fans have bought tickets and followed a team based on tradition and habit. The team has spent most of its re-existence daring fans to quit smoking the Orange and Brown for their health and well-being. He can only do that by winning and unlike other kinds of apologies and forgiveness cycles, this isn’t just a change in his own behavior.

We’d all like to believe that if Jimmy just stops being the Jimmy that hired and fired Chud, Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine that he’ll achieve our mutually beneficial goals on the field. We’d all like to think that Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta and Hue Jackson are the most perfect hires ever with inevitable Super Bowl appearances and victories on the horizon. The question remaining is whether or not Jimmy Haslam can achieve forgiveness by being a good owner even if his team fails to advance to the playoffs in the next two to five years. This presumes that you can be a good owner while also not making the playoffs in a time span of two to five years. I don’t know if that’s even reasonable. Can you be considered a good owner if you operate with continuity and dignity while also not achieving playoff appearances and competitive seasons?

This is where we sit in 2017 as Cleveland Browns fans. We’re ready for another high draft pick. Jimmy Haslam has started to make amends by jumping over the lowest possible bar by not firing people. You can only celebrate that so much. There’s no guarantee that this plan with these planners is going to yield acceptable results until it actually does. That’s why even though I accept Jimmy Haslam’s apology I’m not going to advocate for my family to buy season tickets next year. For me, that’s the difference between accepting an apology and forgiveness with the Cleveland Browns. They’ve got a hell of a lot more work to do.

  • tigersbrowns2

    me & my sunshiny disposition thinks Trump is going to show the knuckleheads in D.C. how to get things done & not worry about being politically correct & hurting people’s feelings.

    they have been underestimating the man from the beginning … he is going to surprise many folks … buckle-up.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i am only guessing most billionaires are pretty smart people & know how to get things done.

  • Harv

    Al Lerner, Randy Lerner, Jimmy … guess we’re unlucky.

  • tigersbrowns2

    Randy Lerner doesn’t count … he mostly inherited his fortune. the others earned it.

  • Toddyus

    Taken in the whole, I agree, but measured on magnitude of the sins against fans, Modell is the worst. Often forgotten, I think, is that in his shenanigans to move the team, he doomed a very talented bunch and fired Bill Belichek. So, it’s not just that he left, it’s that he deprived us of what could/should have been a dynasty just as we were on the verge of it.

  • Harv

    true that. But anyway if I had gone for nuance I would have said: the smarts to make a billion aren’t necessarily the same smarts required for sports franchise success. Won’t insult you with examples in every league. My question is whether Haslam has or can develop those skills. Never believed the wishful thinking that he learned the NFL with his access to the Rooneys – minority investors are brought in for their cash, not to learn ownership ropes. And he’s since admitted that he didn’t understand his role when he arrived here.

  • tigersbrowns2

    not to mention firing our namesake (Paul Brown) & one of our most successful coaches (Scottenheimer).

  • chrisdottcomm

    I could list the ten thousand things he’s said to you (his voter) and been proven to lie about, backtrack on, skirt aside or sweep wholly under the rug but I already know the futile efforts in it.

    So instead I say good day.

  • chrisdottcomm

    He loses much more than he wins, analogy still works.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi CHRIS … well , to me , it doesn’t matter if he picked questionable people or not … in my mind , everyone in D.C. , on both sides , is questionable. the proof will be in the pudding in 4 years time.

  • chrisdottcomm

    So far…

    1. Filled his cabinet with GOP Lobbyists, even gave a spot to the AG that he bribed to not pursue legal action against his fraudulent university… so much for drain the swamp.

    2. Will be asking Congress (us) to pay for your precious wall …. so much for Mexico paying.

    3. Hasn’t locked up Hillary and now says he won’t (which was complete insanity in the first place)

    That’s 3 giant campaign promises to you (his supporter) that weren’t fulfilled even before he takes office… how does that make you feel?

    I mean if a rich dude just lying his face off in over his head at every turn isn’t the picture perfect Haslam analogy I’m not sure what is.

  • chrisdottcomm

    So I’m very curious as to why you would call everyone in DC a knucklehead, vote for someone who told you he’d rid the place of “knuckleheads”, then goes about getting even worse knuckleheads to replace them with (but their right leaning instead of left) and then your stance becomes “it doesnt matter to me who he picks” relying on statements like “buckle up” and “we’ll see in four years”

    You’ve got to see the hypocrisy in this, yes?

    I’m truly fascinated.

  • tigersbrowns2

    and Hillary (or anyone else) is a fine upstanding politician that will keep all of their promises ?

    all i know is there are things that are said & things that are actually done … he hasn’t even taken office yet. i want to see what he actually does & gets done … not what he says.

    this is like judging Haslam & the HBT after only 1 draft … where i always say let’s judge after 3 or 4 years … not 1 draft.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hmmm … you’re getting your lather up & he hasn’t even been sworn-in yet.

    i will have to go back & look who all has been appointed to his cabinet , but i believe many of them are NOT politicians (knuckleheads).

  • tigersbrowns2

    well , so far , of the 19 appointees , only 7 are politicians … the rest are Generals , doctors , business people & professionals.

  • chrisdottcomm

    interesting, well happy researching.

  • chrisdottcomm

    I would implore you to research on who these “generals, doctors, business people and professionals are” because contrary to your belief on politicians anyone can be a “knucklehead” or in many of these cases absolutely evil.

  • tigersbrowns2

    my good man , you asked me “how does that make you feel ” … it doesn’t bother me at all … it truly doesn’t . what does it even mean , the people he appointed ??

    i am referring to the D.C groups as “knuckleheads” because they are out for themselves … they voted themselves a humongous lifetime paycheck , a lifetime of free health insurance of the highest quality & continue to get their palms greased while accomplishing nothing … people finally get fed-up with these people & a NON politician made it to the highest office in the land.

    i am sure there are probably a few honest folks in D.C. … but the people have made it clear … things just might just change a little because of this.

    i know you despise Trump , so I’m glad we can at least have a civil discussion about it. again , i think he is going to surprise some folks.

  • chrisdottcomm

    I am all about civil discussions.

    It’s just truly fascinating to me the view of a person that “politicians” are bad; yet those who have done even worse but as private citizens will be the change you need to see.

    ….oh and yes, the people did speak:

    Hillary Clinton – 65,844,610 votes
    Donald Trump – 62,979,636 votes


    PS – I’m not actually a Hillary “supporter” as much as I am a Anti-Trump/Anti-Oligarchy enthusiast.

  • tigersbrowns2

    Trump at least got me excited about politics again … when our forefathers started this government thing , i think they served for 2 years & were done … now , they have made it a lavish career.

    why is the deficit the way it is ? why are taxes & the minimum wage the way they are ? the state of health care ?? why do we go to war ?? why is the election process the way it is ?? all these things & many more are decided on by these 554 people , not us … and things are exactly the way they want them.

    take a look at the proposed budget cuts by Paul Ryan … this will make your head spin , all of the billions & trillions of dollars being doled-out for many senseless things while he have homeless & starving people in America without affordable health care … it is because that is exactly how they want it. oh , but let the illegals stay , because the citizens will take care of it … and for good measure , let’s bring over tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

    all politicians are not bad … but people need to truly open their eyes & our government must be held accountable.

  • chrisdottcomm

    I get you, trust me I get you.

    There’s plenty of change to be done with who/how things are run. We just disagree on the person to do it is all.

    Cheers mate.