So unless you've been living under a goddam rock you've heard the news that Randy Lerner, Cleveland's second most liked sports owner is selling the Browns to Tennessee investor Jimmy Haslam III. Let me say this first: I never disliked Randy Lerner. I never understood people who disliked Randy Lerner. The man inhereted a football team from his father and opened up his checkbook for the organization, relocated his family to Cleveland, and made--what people thought at the time--logical hires. Who complained when Lerner brought in Romeo Crennel coming off a Superbowl winning strech in New England? What about the Director of Player Personell for the rock-solid Ravens organization, Phil Savage? How about hounding Bill Cowher to come back to the sidelines to coach the Browns? Sure, Mangini wasn't many people's first choice to replace Romeo, but I know many people that were cautiously optimistic and argue that if Brett Favre wouldn't have gotten hurt at the tail-end of the 2008 season Mangini wouldn't have gotten fired in the first place from New York. As if that wasn't enough, I wasn't the biggest fan of bringing in Mike Holmgren to run the front office of the Browns but I understand why he did. How many people do you know that complained about that hire? I don't know many. All I'm saying, as I've said before on this site, is that Lerner made choices that made sense to a lot of people at the time and wasn't afraid to cut his losses and move on, even if it meant continuing to pay multiple people after the fact.
Alright, enough about Randy Lerner, onto our soon-to-be new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III, or, as ESPN calls him, a "Steelers fan." Shut the fuck up ESPN. If anyone is legitamitly upset by the fact that a Steelers minority owner is trying to buy the Browns, they're retarded. And to say that Haslam is a Steelers fan because he claimed to be a "1000% Steelers fan" or some shit on the Steelers website is retarded too. Haslam also said he used to be a Cowboys and Colts fan before buying stake in the Steelers. Let me ask you this: if someone came up to you and was like, "I'll sell you the Broncos [or Patriots or Detroit Pistons or Detroit Tigers or any other pro team]" and you could afford it would you? I would say FUCK yes. And then guess what? I'd prolly start rooting for the team that I just freaking bought.
Here's what I think about the sale of the team. I'm cautiously optimistic. I love that Haslam spent time working with the Rooney family in Pittsburgh the past few years, hopefully learning the proper way to run a sports organization. I hope he doesn't turn out to be an Al Davis/Daniel Snyder type of owner, but I don't get the feeling that he will be. I never had a problem with Lerner not being as open to the public as some people may have liked, but I also won't have a problem with Haslam being out in the spotlight more, so long as he doesn't try to get so involved in the football side of operations that it hinders the team.
All I ask from Mr. Haslam is to give us stability. Give us a sense of respect around the league. Something the fans of this city long for maybe more than anything else. And it starts with the owner and works its way down.
Lastly, don't worry about Haslam trying to relocate the team, it's really a non-issue.* And if you really aren't that excited about this sale, look at how mad it's making Steeler fans, that should cheer you up.
*I swear to God Haslam if you try to move this team...and you better not fuck with our logo (or lack thereof) either. Aside from that, welcome to Cleveland!