The Browns 0-16 parade this past weekend drew a lot of criticism. In a Cleveland Plain Dealer column last week, WKSU commentator Terry Pluto called the event marking the team’s winless season a ‘zero.’ But he’s since changed his mind.
Pluto wrote that he viewed the parade as something that would only draw more negative attention and embarrassment to the team and city.
"I think it would have made Cleveland a national joke for parading after the team didn't win a game. And, I didn't know why anybody would want to go out there and walk around the stadium when it's five degrees below zero wind chill. But, I guess about 3,000 people did."
And, Pluto says the parade wasn't going to do much to get the attention of the owner. "Jimmy Haslam really does want to win. He has no clue how to win."
Players in a tweetstorm
Then, Pluto says he saw some players reacting to the parade on Twitter and his opinion began to change.
Linebacker Christian Kirskey tweeted: "When we win, don't praise us because I will remember when ya laughed at us."
"He was one of the leaders of the players who knelt during the national anthem," Pluto says. "He asked people to honor their protest and the integrity of what they wanted to do. It works both ways. The fans were expressing themselves, and many of them spend thousands of dollars each year to watch the Browns."
Defensive end Emanual Ogbah tweeted: "The parade is a joke 0-16 is embarrassing enough as a player."
"My thought was, well, if you would have won a game, it wouldn't have been embarrassing," Pluto says.
Defensive tackle Danny Shelton tweeted concern about players avoiding coming to Cleveland because of the parade.
"They won't want to come because they're 0-16 and 1-31 in two years," Pluto says. "It's not about the parade."
A bit of anger is a good sign
Pluto says the tweets gave Pluto a more positive outlook about the parade because of the players responding "with a little bit of anger."
"Some of us in the media wondered if some of these guys cared if they went 0-16 or not. It seemed like a year ago, when they won the 15th game of the season, they were really determined not to go 0-16. I did not see that same resolve this time around. Whether they were just so beaten down by all the losses, I'm not sure."
Pluto says just like in football, he reviewed the parade and reversed his call. "It actually brought some life out of these players who I wondered were just emotionally dead after going 0-16."