Current weather

  • Scattered clouds
  • 54°
    Scattered clouds

Browns president apologizes for comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

CLEVELAND -- With more time to reflect, Browns president Carmen Policy apologized to everyone.

Everyone, that is, except the ''hooligans'' who threw beer bottles at NFL officials and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Policy said he made a mistake Sunday by not criticizing fans who hurled bottles and other debris onto the field because they were angry about a last-minute call that helped the Jaguars beat the Cleveland Browns 15-10.

''Under no circumstances would we approve of that,'' Policy said Monday at the Browns' headquarters in Berea. ''I did not set a proper tone. I realized I had to set the record straight. There are no excuses.

''I can imagine the national story suggested in some way we were justifying some of the conduct yesterday as though it was excusable. That's not how we feel. That's not what we meant to say and that's not at all what our record would indicate that we stand for. I feel badly about it.''

He said the team will push for the prosecution of fans who threw thousands of objects onto the field, forcing NFL officials and players from both teams to run for cover.

Debris also was thrown on the field Monday night in New Orleans, early in the fourth quarter of the game between the Saints and St. Louis Rams. NFL security director Milt Ahlerich said 13 people were arrested.

Defensive pass interference was called on New Orleans' Kevin Mathis in the end zone with 9:44 remaining. Fans reacted to the call by tossing debris onto the field, causing only a slight delay in the game.

On Sunday, Policy and Browns owner Al Lerner refused to condemn the rowdy behavior, which forced a 30-minute delay in the game with about 48 seconds left. Policy also didn't think anyone was in serious danger on the field.

''I don't think this is an example of life and limb being at risk,'' he said. ''I like the fact that our fans care.''

Lerner said: ''It wasn't World War III.''

Luckily, the barrage of bottles -- many of them plastic but filled with beer -- along with cups, bobblehead dolls and other projectiles didn't cause any serious injuries.

If the Browns have their way, some of the rowdiest fans will never attend another game in Cleveland.

Lew Merletti, the Browns' security director, said 10 arrests were made following the game and that the team is reviewing videotape to identify fans who threw things.

''We will bring a number of people forward and they will pay the price,'' Merletti said.

In 1995, the New York Giants took season tickets from some fans who threw snowballs on the field during a game.

Policy said the Browns have gotten high marks from the league for their security procedures at the stadium, which opened in 1999.

''We were very proud of our record for the first 29 home games and for all but 48 seconds of our last home game this year,'' Policy said. ''We were frustrated not only by the way the game ended but what happened out there. We're very disappointed.''

Policy said he spoke with league officials in New York on Monday morning but was not criticized for his postgame comments. He also regretted ''dragging'' Lerner into the postgame news conference with him.

The Browns' home season finale turned frightening in the closing seconds when officials used instant replay to decide that Browns wide receiver Quincy Morgan had not caught a pass for an apparent first down.

But they didn't make the ruling until after the Browns had run another play.

Browns coach Butch Davis still doesn't understand why the call was overturned.

''It's my understanding when the ball is signaled into play and snapped that anything that happens after that is non-reviewable,'' said Davis, in his first season as Browns coach.

Davis was also asked if the bottle-throwing made him feel any less comfortable about working in Cleveland.

''Nope,'' Davis said. ''Proud to be here.'' So is Browns quarterback Tim Couch, who said he was standing at midfield talking with several Jacksonville players as the debris rained down.

''They were like, 'I wish our fans were as into it as your fans are,' '' Couch said. ''I guess you can look at it either way. Either your fans are into it, or some people say they're nuts, throwing bottles and stuff.

''I'm sticking behind our fans. I'm happy they're supporting us like that. I'm not happy they're throwing bottles.''



CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS