Rain drowns Cleveland fans' Inner Harbor demonstration Protest of Browns' move creates little response

January 28, 1996|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

First, Art Modell makes a deal to move their team and then a downpour dampens their protest rally. Things just haven't been going well for Browns fans who want their team to remain in Cleveland.

About 25 people clad in orange and brown braved a heavy rain at the Inner Harbor yesterday afternoon to protest the Browns' move to Baltimore.

The rally was organized by the Baltimore chapter of the Cleveland Browns Backers and included representatives from local Parent-Teachers Associations.

Their message was two-pronged: The Browns belong in Cleveland and the money allocated to building a new football stadium in Baltimore would be better spent on education. Some carried placards and distributed buttons that read: "$$$ for Brains, Not for Browns."

Because of the rain, there wasn't much activity around the Inner Harbor, although a few people did stop to voice their support. Except for one dissenter who drove by in his car and yelled, "Get a life, you losers," there were no counter-demonstrators.

"The weather was a little disappointing and we expected a better turnout," said Richard Hunt, whose wife, Terry, is president of the Baltimore Chapter of the Cleveland Browns Backers. "But as long as we're getting the word out and people see it and read it and hear about it, then we've done what we set out to do."

Although he now lives in Baltimore, Hunt -- who was raised in a Cleveland suburb -- said he would rather watch the Browns on television or make an occasional trip to Cleveland Stadium than have his team move here.

"To go to Cleveland Stadium to watch the Browns play football is an event," Hunt said. "I can't visualize it here being the same."

For others, the issue had nothing to do with football or fan loyalty.

"The reason I'm here is standing right in front of me," said Daniel Robinson of Wheaton, referring to his 5-year-old daughter, Victoria. "The state of the public schools in Maryland is not the best, and it's repugnant to me that the governor would spend $300 million on a private investor when the public schools are in this kind of shape."

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