Johnson Bademosi is a great Cleveland Brown

by Cleveland Frowns on December 11, 2014

Yesterday, Browns defensive back and top special-teamer Johnson Bademosi published a statement at SI.com on his decision to wear a t-shirt marked with “I can’t breathe,” in protest of what he calls “police killings as a symptom of the systematic and historical devaluing of black lives.”

Johnson Bademosi Browns I can't breathe

It’s as much [click to continue…]

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Things we know and things we don’t know about the Browns

by Cleveland Frowns on December 8, 2014

The Hoyer/Manziel thing is so tough. Who’s to say how much better Hoyer would be playing without the Johnny Football Industrial Complex looming over his shoulder? Who knows how much pressure Mike Pettine is under from the front office or owner’s box, let alone from the voices in his own head due to the quarterback controversy that the Browns drafted in May? Who knows how it could be affecting strategy, in-game decisionmaking, or relationships in the locker room?

Only three weeks ago, the Browns were 6-3 on the season, local boy Brian Hoyer was making good with a 10-3 career record as the starting quarterback and as stable a force as the franchise has had at the position since Bernie Kosar (also the first Browns QB with consecutive 300-yard passing games since Brian Sipe in 1983). But by kickoff yesterday, the Browns had faced two teams with top-line defensive fronts that effectively shut down an offense that depends on its running game (and two fumble-prone rookie running backs), misses its Pro Bowl center lost to injury in week 6, and remains a work-in-progress as far as integrating its All Pro receiver after a 10-game suspension. A rash of injuries to key defensive starters didn’t help either, the team was all of a sudden 7-5 with its playoff hopes on the brink, and the Manziel machine had kicked into a full-throated roar, with a Browns source having apparently leaked that the franchise will not re-sign Hoyer when he becomes a free agent in the offseason.

As much as folks were expecting better yesterday against a Colts defense that’s turned in some standout performances and has been generally stout against the run, things got worse, with 248 yards of total offense representing a season low for the Browns offense in a heartbreaking 25-24 loss.

How bad was it really, though, and how much of it is Hoyer’s fault? It was just a one-point loss to a presumptive division-winner and legitimate Super Bowl contender. Could it be that Kyle Shanahan’s offense has become as predictable as it was unproductive in Washington last year? Should the coaching staff or front office have done better to silence the Manziel noise, at least until the end of the season? Is it foolish to expect any quarterback or coaching staff to perform with anything like this quarterback controversy running on full blast? What if it was just another one of those December Sundays in Cleveland where both offenses were destined to suck?

Or are we better off just getting on with the Johnny Football Era anyway, regardless of the answers to any of these questions?

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Magic Johnson on LeBron and Social Justice

by Cleveland Frowns on December 7, 2014

On Friday night, NBA legend Magic Johnson made a powerful statement on the importance of athletes speaking out against social injustice, specifically commending LeBron James for his recent public statements about Trayvon Martin, Donald Sterling, and social unrest across the U.S. related to various killings of unarmed young black men and boys by police officers.

LeBron James Trayvon Martin Tamir Rice Michael Brown

Magic’s statement generated national headlines, including at ESPN.com (“Magic praises LeBron’s social stance“) and USA Today (“Magic Johnson praises LeBron James for speaking out on social issues“).

Naturally, Cleveland’s comic-book supervillain of a “daily” newspaper, that will run a week of stories whenever LeBron appears in a Nike ad, couldn’t [click to continue…]

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Mayor Jackson was wrong about Ferguson and Cleveland

by Cleveland Frowns on November 25, 2014

Last week, a spokesman for Mayor Frank Jackson brushed off the idea that Cleveland had anything to learn from Ferguson, Missouri, where the killing of an unarmed young black man, Michael Brown, by police has caused massive protests and civil unrest. “Questions about lessons learned from Ferguson and the preparations Cleveland might take ahead of a similarly incendiary incident were unworthy of a response,” said Jackson spokesman Daniel Williams, according to the Plain Dealer’s Brandon Blackwell.

A few days later, a Cleveland police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy, Tamir Rice, allegedly because the officer felt threatened by a realistic looking toy pellet gun that the boy had on his person.

Tamir Rice

The officers were responding to a 911 call reporting “a guy with a pistol” on a swing set at the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland’s near west side, pulling the gun from his pants and “scaring the s—t out of everyone.”

The man who called 911 told dispatchers that the “guy” was “probably a juvenile,” and twice said that “the gun was probably fake,” an assumption that was corroborated by … Click here to continue reading at Belt Magazine

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The City of Cleveland hasn’t had a legitimately contested mayoral election since 2005, with incumbent Frank Jackson having run essentially unopposed in the two elections since then. Jackson will be the longest-serving Mayor in Cleveland’s 200+year history by the time his current term is up, and now folks are hearing that he’ll run for yet another four-year term in 2017. There’s less reason than ever to suggest that it’s not his if he wants it.

Case in point, this year’s Ohio gubernatorial race that incumbent Republican John Kasich is expected to win in a landslide over Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald, the current Cuyahoga County Executive. Kasich will waltz to his second term as Governor despite having won by only a two-point margin with 49% of the vote the first time around, and despite that the great majority of Ohioans are worse off than ever on his watch. According to uncontradicted research by Policy Matters Ohio: Job growth statewide is fourth worst among states since 2005, and the percentage of working Ohioans is at a 34-year low; For those who are lucky enough to be working at all, median hourly wages are down despite massive productivity gains, and 11 of the state’s 12 most common occupations “pay too little to get a family of three above 150% of the poverty line;” So, naturally, the bottom 99% of Ohioans make less than they did a generation ago while the top 1% makes 70% more. Which is to say nothing of Kasich’s decisions to sell our environment to the oil companies, our education system to venture capitalists, and our reproductive rights to his party’s lunatic fringe.

Yet there will be no real election for Governor of Ohio this time around, and Cleveland’s only “daily” newspaper would have us believe it’s because FitzGerald didn’t have a drivers license for a few years and was once spotted in a parked car with an Irish lady in Lakewood at 4 AM. Count them, 45 stories at Cleveland.com about FitzGerald’s parking/drivers license improprieties published over the last three months, and then try to find a single piece of concise and comprehensive analysis by the Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group comparing the two candidates’ policies.

When the PD/NEOMG asked the candidates to fill out a questionnaire on policy issues, Kasich simply refused to participate. Which was only consistent with his refusal to participate in any debates with FitzGerald (“the first time since 1978 that Ohio’s major gubernatorial candidates have not debated”), and also his behavior in a joint meeting with FitzGerald and the PD/NEOMG editorial board, where Kasich “slumped in his chair, refused to acknowledge the other candidates and ignored repeated attempts by PD staff to answer even basic questions about his policies and programs.”

PD gubernatorial race coverage accurately summarized in one cartoon

Of course, Kasich doesn’t answer any questions about his policies and record because [click to continue…]

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Ebola, the Media, and What Will Really Kill Us

by Cleveland Frowns on October 20, 2014

Two Saturdays ago I had a close brush with the Ebola virus. Laura Johnston of the Northeast Ohio Media Group has the details here, with commentary by Scene’s Eric Sandy here and others here, here and here.

Of course, calling attention to a deadly virus that has little to no risk of spreading in the U.S. doesn’t threaten advertisers’ bottom lines any and only keeps eyeballs glued to screens, so we get a wall-to-wall freakout in the press. Meanwhile, critical problems that are exponentially more threatening to humanity continue to be ignored or misrepresented in the media because advertisers are by and large resistant to the structural change that’s necessary to solve them. If there’s a silver lining to this Ebola hysteria, it’s that it goes to show that we might actually have a chance at solving our real problems if we could only manage to have media that would present them as such. High hopes here in Cleveland, where the editorial page of our only “daily” newspaper is edited by a man who just wrote this column:

“If the climate changes, we’ll adapt,” says Kevin O’Brien.

Just like the dinosaurs did.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 8.57.00 AMAnyway, speaking of things that will make you bleed from your eyeballs, the Browns [click to continue…]

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Columbus Day is a great American holiday

October 13, 2014

“A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from [ages] nine to ten are now in demand.” — Christopher Columbus ————— In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue from Europe […]

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It was ever a day for the Browns to beat the damn Steelers

October 12, 2014

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” — Kurt Vonnegut

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If there was ever a day for the Browns to beat the damn Steelers

October 12, 2014

At certain points in the life cycle of most NFL divisions, consecutive seasons of high drafting by the weaker teams and the depreciation and increasing expense of the rosters of the stronger teams results in a natural shift in the division’s balance of power. Today, the Browns can send a clear message that such a shift might actually, […]

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Cleveland: Have you seen our new chandelier?

October 9, 2014

It’s naturally tempting for more well-off Northeast Ohioans to believe that a renaissance is underway in the region. LeBron is coming back, the Republican convention is coming to Cleveland, fancy new buildings continue to go up downtown, we just got the world’s biggest outdoor chandelier, and the local paper has been trumpeting a “brain gain” […]

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