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A fanbase divided: How Browns fans are feeling after Baker Mayfield trade

Baker Mayfield fan
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 17:57:05-04

CLEVELAND — Browns fans are known for their loyalty. Amid The Fumble, The Drive, even 0-16—Browns fans haven't wavered in their support of the team. But after the team traded quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers months after trading for Deshaun Watson, some fans have drawn their line in the sand.

Back in March when the Browns traded for Watson, the fanbase saw a fracture. Some were excited to get a quarterback of his caliber, others were outraged at the acquisition due to numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Others were more so upset about the team moving on from Mayfield—so much so that some are rooting for a new team.

In a poll posted on Twitter, a vast majority of fans who responded showed loyalty to the Browns, with a smaller percentage supporting the Browns first and foremost while also rooting for Mayfield. But a percentage of respondents have decided to ditch their Browns fandom and follow Mayfield to the Panthers.

It's a move being done by some fans like John Martin, who has been a Browns loyal since the mid-80s.

"I've been a Browns fan— I'm 40 years old— so probably since the mid-eighties," Martin said. "I'm kind of disgusted over the whole situation, to be honest with you."

Martin was among the camp that does not want to root for Watson and plans to continue supporting Mayfield as he departs Cleveland.

"You take it back to when Baker came in on that Thursday night against the Jets. You could feel it and you could see it, he gave us hope and he brought us from being a joke. Regardless of what anybody thinks about him, he brought us from being a joke to being respectable and to having hope year in and year out where we knew we could go to the Super Bowl," Martin explained. "For me personally, and I know a lot of people probably don't agree and probably will hate me for it, but I'm go Baker all the way. Go, Baker."

Other fans, like Michael Roberts, have been fans of the team for even longer and don't plan on changing that anytime soon. Roberts said his fandom has stretched over 70 years and counting. When he found out the Browns were trading Mayfield, he was actually happy.

“Baker was a good quarterback, not a great quarterback," Roberts said. “I’m glad that they were able to move him. He was becoming a bit of a distraction. It seems as if that was all the conversation was about."

While Roberts is happy that the ordeal with Mayfield has come to an end, he also said he doesn't have any hard feelings against Mayfield now that he's out of the orange and brown.

“I wish him well, I can’t begrudge him anything, we made an upgrade. It wasn’t anything personal," Roberts said. “I have no animosity towards Baker or anything that he’s done here in Cleveland. All the other histrionics with it, you know, no big deal.”

Robyn Lockner, who created the Cleveland Browns Women's Group on Facebook, has seen her fair share of opinions on the matter.

"We have quite a few that have said they are going to be Panthers fans now or that the Panthers are now their second favorite team. And a lot that are just going to follow Baker regardless," Lockner said.

She herself, however, won't budge.

"Sorry, Baker, but I'm a Browns fan. Till the end," Lockner said. “Players come, players go, coaches come and coaches go, owners come and owners go. The one thing that remains loyal is the fans. And I'll always be a Browns fan. Regardless of who's on the team. I support the team."

The divided fanbase goes so deep that some Browns fans, who plan to generally root for the team, are pulling for Mayfield even against Cleveland.

"I would love to see—if you remember a couple of years back when he played Cincinnati, just how he was just cocky and everything he did, he just rubbed it in Hue Jackson's face—I want to see him do that to Cleveland, because I really think Cleveland did him dirty," Martin said.

Most fans, though, seem to be remaining true to the orange and brown regardless of who is under center in Cleveland.

"The quarterback is not the team. He's just kind of the head of the team. There's 53 men on that roster that are part of the team so I can never not be a Browns fan," Lockner said. "The players come and go, regardless of who's on the team the rest of the team gets my support. So it's not about who's on the field at that time or who used to be there. It's just kind of about the passion that we have as fans for football and for the Browns. Even when the Browns weren't here and [Art] Modell took the team to Baltimore, we were still here as Browns fans fighting to get our team back. So the fans are the most loyal aspect."

For some, that means pulling for Mayfield when it doesn't impact the Browns, of course.

“It would be nice if he does well but they lose, that would be fine with me,” Roberts said of Mayfield in the Week 1 game against the Browns.

While others who want Mayfield to do well, even against the Browns, still find ways to support Cleveland—begrudgingly or otherwise.

"I mean, I'm still going to root for the Browns. I'm probably going to keep a close eye on Carolina, what Baker does, because really he's responsible for honestly four of the best years of a Browns fan that I've had in my life," Martin said. "So, yeah, I'm going to be keeping a close eye on what he does, but still rooting for the Browns because I've sat through 0-and-16, and the move, and Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert, and I could just go on and on and on about the stupid stuff that they've done. But I've sat through all that. So I can sit through some more."

RELATED: Browns trade Baker Mayfield to Carolina Panthers

Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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