Say what you will about the Cleveland Browns, but for years it's seemed that their fanbase has been borderline recklessly loyal to a team that's just 2-33-1 over the past three seasons.
"Die-hard" is the word most folks would use to describe Cleveland fans, but that's not how Jabrill Peppers sees them. The former Michigan Wolverine labeled Cleveland sports fans as "wishy-washy" this week.
From Scott Petrak from BrownsZone.com:
“So that’s one thing I notice about Cleveland sports, you guys are very, very wishy-washy,” he told The Chronicle-Telegram on Wednesday. “If it ain’t going right immediately, calling for heads, calling for jobs.”
Peppers, in his second season, is off to a slow start on defense and as a kick returner and said he’s heard about it from fans and media. He said he can’t shop at his local CVS without being harassed.
“Oh, yeah, now they’re aggressive,” he said. “My boy had to pull me away one time.”
The backdrop for the frustration of the fans is the consistent losing. The Browns haven’t been to the playoffs since 2002, haven’t had a winning season since 2007 and went 1-15 and 0-16 the last two years before the 1-2-1 start to 2018.
“And I understand that, because I put myself in their shoes, as well,” Peppers said. “It doesn’t bother me, but I just like to know the type of environment I’m in. That’s why I say that, man, because I know it’s a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, why is he back there? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ But then once I show them why I’m back there, now it’s, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah.’
“I know this is the National Football League, scrutiny is at an all-time high, you’re constantly under the microscope. It’s just part of the game that comes with it, but it’s just going to be funny to see once we get this thing rolling the way we’re supposed to.”
He was warned his “wishy-washy” comments could add to the grief he receives.
“I don’t care,” he said. “That’s not something I care about.”
Cleveland Browns are a lot of things, but "wishy-washy" sure ain't one of them. And responding "I don't care," when you're given the chance to walk back those comments is not going to go over well.
Peppers blamed some of the hate on where he chose to go to school, but I'm not really sure I buy that at all. If he came in and performed like a first round pick should instead of an average safety and a special teams liability, Browns fans would embrace the hell out of him.
I mean, look at how they back Baker Mayfield after his performances in a Browns uniform. Mayfield beat the Buckeyes on their home field, went a long way to eliminated them from the playoffs, then stuck a flag in the middle of the field afterwards. But he's good, so Cleveland fans love him.
Peppers never even beat Ohio State in his career. He was the most harmless villain since Chad Henne. I don't think there's much animosity there, champ.
Regardless, it's crazy how all of this could have been avoided if the Browns would have just selected the best safety available who happened to be from the Local Team.