The Cleveland Browns are impervious to rebranding

by Cleveland Frowns on March 5, 2015

Last week the Browns made national headlines and put the local news cycle on freeze with a heavily promoted “rebranding” that turned out not to be a rebranding at all. For all the many ways this offseason has somehow again plunged the franchise to new depths of league-laughingstock status, the “rebranding” episode was actually glorious, and a much-needed reminder of how great it can be to be a Browns fan.

To review, the organization undertook what it announced as a two-year design process that resulted mainly in turning its primary logo from an orange football helmet to a slightly redder-orange football helmet.

RebrandedWhile national responses to the redesign ranged mostly from disappointment (“Completely underwhelming,” said the Washington Post’s Matt Bonesteel) to mockery, (“50 shades of orange!,” said pretty much everyone else) many locals were rightly relieved.

Given owner Jimmy Haslam’s well-documented drive to squeeze every last penny out of his business ventures, humanity be damned, it was little surprise that he wanted to print up some newly branded merchandise to sell shortly upon taking control of the Browns in 2012. Yet, that anyone still watches this football team at all after the last 20 years of otherworldy failure is proof enough that the franchise already had the strongest brand in the history of commerce. That the logo would remain so much in tact after this clash of unstoppable force with immovable object is a testament to how great it can be when something original is allowed to stay that way.

The Browns are the only [click to continue…]


Cardale Jones and America’s Greatest Storage Unit

by Cleveland Frowns on January 14, 2015

The rapid rise of the self-storage industry in the U.S. is a mainly dire phenomenon; a function of unchecked consumerism, consumption and inequality. While a growing number of Americans suffer in increasingly worse economic conditions, those on the other side of the divide continue to accumulate more stuff than they know what to do with. What doesn’t get dumped in the oceans is now tossed into storage units, basically, blighting the landscape with giant rectangular eyesores “that bring—comparative to their size and infrastructural requirements—few jobs or sales-tax benefits.”

For a resourceful group of teenagers from Mentor, Ohio in 2011, though, the rapid rise of the self-storage industry in America was something different. For these teens, the rapid rise of the self-storage industry in America was an opportunity – an opportunity to furnish one of the units at Uncle Bob’s Self Storage on East Avenue near the intersection of Routes 2 and 615 as a mini-clubhouse where they could hang out and do whatever free from the prying eyes of parents, law enforcement and other potentially meddlesome adults. To provide some background, here’s a photo of a related but worse-fated unit from this Mentor Patch report about underage drinking arrests at the same site from December 2011.

Storage Unit 1

As for the Mentor teens who started this local trend, it wasn’t long before they realized that they had something special at their disposal. Some of them being football fans who would attend Ohio State University the next fall, they got the idea to use Twitter to invite members of the acclaimed 2010-11 Glenville High football team, including current Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones and Indiana University receiver Shane Wynn, to attend a party at the unit.

After having received enough tweets from the Mentor group, Cardale, Wynn and Co. [click to continue…]


Haslam’s tough talk on Manziel rings hollow

by Cleveland Frowns on December 29, 2014

After yesterday’s 20-10 loss to the Ravens in which the Browns ensured their seventh consecutive losing season, owner Jimmy Haslam made a rare appearance in front of the TV cameras to send a message to certain of the team’s young players.

“I think a player who can’t show up for meetings, can’t make practice, can’t make weight-lifting, disrespects himself,” Haslam said. “But I think more importantly, and I think this is what these young guys miss, they disrespect the team, the coaches, the staff, the fans. There’s a lot of people in our organization whose livelihood depends on how well we do. We’re not gonna tolerate people who are irresponsible, no matter what round they’re drafted in.”

Haslam was referring to 2014 first-round draft picks Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert, as well as third-year receiver and 2013 All Pro Josh Gordon, all of whom were subject to discipline by the team over the weekend thanks to a series of developments that would seem absurd in any other NFL city.

Here, though, [click to continue…]


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 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…]


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, [click to continue…]


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 (“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…]


Mayor Jackson was wrong about Ferguson and Cleveland

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 […]

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The Plain Dealer’s John Kasich cover-up and other Election Day stories

October 31, 2014

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 […]

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Ebola, the Media, and What Will Really Kill Us

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 […]

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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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