Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/9/14

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 18: Scott Fujita #55 of the New Orleans Saints runs onto the field after being introduced prior to playing the New York Giants at the Louisiana Superdome on October 18, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The frustration is alive and well.  I would call it paramount, but this football team we root for each and every Sunday between August and early January continues to surprise us all when it comes to ways in which a team finds itself on the losing side of the outcome ledger. And with the continually evolving mediums that allow fans to voice their various levels of displeasure, the team is able to hear it. Very loud and very clear.

Following Sunday’s contest, Browns return man and wide receiver Josh Cribbs was as frustrated as anyone.  Emotionally fresh off of the defeat, he called the one-point loss “embarrassing,” questioning why the fans continue to come out each and every Sunday to support a product that continues to reach new lows. “We try to win for our fans,” he said. ”It’s hard for us to even ask [Cleveland fans] to root for us even though they do anyway. I respect them a hell of a lot more now.”

Conversely, the vocal minority of anonymously named Twitter users opted to take the low road against their orange-helmeted brethren.  Name-calling was just the tip of the vitriolic iceberg with one “fan” even going as far as to insinuate that the players - you know, hard-working, passionate human beings – should consider ending their own lives.  Linebacker and team captain Scott Fujita retweeted the comment to his followers, but would later delete it due to not wanting to provide the user with any additional publicity.  Fujita, one of several players who continue to be the pinnacle of philanthropy, is presently the lead in a charity-based benefit for Cleveland’s Providence House, helping fight abuse and neglect for local at-risk children while “empowering” families in need.  Yet because he only intercepted one pass while amassing five tackles during the very Sunday in question, he no longer possesses the right to live. 

When asked if he was aware of the fan frustration on Monday, Fujita was quick to point out his very public Twitter account and that he’s certainly aware of the growing sentiment of disgust within his host city.  His first-year head coach Pat Shurmur, despite not having the veteran pedigree of his outside linebacker is from this region and said that he’s very well aware of the not-so-glowing story of this Browns franchise since its return in 1999.

“I’m from a town that has dealt with this type of fans loving their team and not having it go their way all the time,” said Shurmur on Monday. “I get that. I’m not from Mars. I get that. I haven’t been here the previous twelve years. I can sympathize with those feelings, I understand that. Like I said at the outset, I came to work as somebody who lives in Cleveland disappointed that we lost. I just happened to be in a position right now to help inspire a bunch of guys win a game. That will make our fans extremely proud.”

The Browns head coach had his own share of emotionally-fueled outbursts on Sunday, allegedly having a bit of a verbal altercation with a fan on his way off of the field as well as some podium pounding when confronted with questions he apparently felt were minutiae within the grand scheme of the game. Fans pay a pretty penny to support their team year after year. Rooting for one which is averaging less than 15 points per contest and has not found the end zone in either of their last two home games gradually becomes a painful exercise. But to believe that the players or the coaches do not care about the city or region that sport the Brown and Orange is beyond asinine.  Telling players that they should consider ending their own lives is indefensible.

Fujita, who has been down this road before, hopes that with a little additional hard work and focus, this team can get back on the right track and provide the town with something worthy of pride. “You’ve got to find a way to bounce back and that’s coming in, digesting the film, breaking it down and trying to improve it and coming back to work on Wednesday,” he said “That’s the only way you can keep your sanity.”

Fujita was, in this context, using “you” in the general sense, speaking more of himself than the reporter asking the question.  Hopefully, this team can bounce back sooner than later, if only for the sanity of those who are in the ears of the team.

AP Photo/Bill Haber


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