Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Supporting Big Ben is unacceptable

In my heart of hearts, I would have bet a month’s pay that no matter how long of a suspension NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed Ben Roethlisberger that his first game back would be against the Browns.

Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed that the NFL schedule makers would also grant the Steelers a bye week to help Big Ben get back into the flow of things.

Wait, you are saying that it is actually a six game suspension? Yeah right. No. 7 will be suited up and ready to play the Browns on Oct. 17 at Ketchup Stadium.

Unless of course our rivals who pride themselves on doing things the right way trade the posterchild for bad decisions as word has come down that the Steelers would accept a top-10 pick for Big Ben.

A few Browns fans have even floated the idea that the Browns should surrender the seventh pick in the draft to bring the Findlay native back to Ohio.

It would never happen. Ben is not a Mangini kind of guy. Even Holmgren would have a hard time selling it to the faithful and the Steelers would never trade him in the division let alone to the Browns.

But it does give me thought.

I have always wondered just what it would take for me to stop being a Browns fan. They broke my heart nearly every year of my childhood. They left town and since the bad clone version has come back, it has been nothing but a decade-plus nightmare. The only thing more ridiculous than how they have performed on the field is how they have performed in the front office.

And yet I watch every game. If last year couldn’t kill my Browns fan heart, just what could?

Trading for that awful man would.

Yes I am saying that trading for a Pro Bowl in his prime two-time Super Bowl champion would end forever my fanship of my beloved Cleveland Browns.

I could never cheer for that man. And it is not just because he wore those black and puke colored uniforms.

I have always suspected that he was a below-average human being but reading the police report confirmed it. I don’t care if he hasn’t been convicted of a crime. I don’t want that guy on my team.

Call me a hypocrite but his alleged transgressions trump any other crime of anyone who has played for the Browns except of course that idiot Donte Stallworth. If he came back and played for the Browns I would feel almost as strongly.

In my lifetime, I have only missed two Browns games by choice. They were the last two starts that Jeff Garcia made for the Browns. In fact they were probably his best two starts as a Brown. But I drew a line in the sand; I said I wouldn’t watch again until he was gone.

Now it wasn’t because of Terrell Owens’ definition of a duck. But rather a combination of a police report Garcia was involved in just before he left California for the Browns, the way he threw his teammates under the bus and some behind-closed-doors information I had learned.

My team represents me. Their quarterback — more than any other player — represents the team. It is one thing if my quarterback is awful; it is a completely other thing if he is an awful human being.

I can’t cheer for a despicable person no matter what colors he wears.

I understand that football players aren’t saints. They have flaws. No can’t have a team of angels. But like it or not, the player that most defines any team is the man who is taking the snaps under center.

People wonder why Bernie Kosar is so beloved in Cleveland. It is because he seemed on the field to represent just what this community loves so much. Scrappy, determined and playing above expectations. And well — he beat the Steelers more often then he lost to them.

I have never liked Big Ben. I’ve begrudgingly tipped my cap to him way too many times. But I will never cheer for him. And I won’t support any team that employs him. Even if that team became the Browns.