Randy Lerner meets with two disgruntled fans

Browns owner Randy Lerner obsessively avoids having his voice or image recorded by the media.

On Tuesday, however, he blazed new ground by taking a meeting with two unhappy fans.

Lerner met with men who have called for fans to not take their seats at the November 16 Monday nighter until after the kickoff.

(In an unrelated note, ESPN is no longer cursing the fact that this game has landed on their 2009 schedule.)

Mike Randall of Massillon and Tony Schaefer of Sandusky spent two hours with Lerner, and they were impressed.

He wants to get this right,” Randall said, per Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository.  “He was very open in saying
mistakes have been made.  He basically said, ‘I take full blame.’

“Randy strikes me as very passionate about owning the team and getting this right,” Randall said.

And they got some insight regarding whether Lerner will keep coach Eric Mangini beyond the 2009 season.

“I believe, from what I heard that if it doesn’t work out this year,
Randy will make a move,” Randall said.  “He’s not going to sit there and
take this garbage any more.  He is [ticked] off.  He is disgusted.”

Lerner’s peers might be feeling a little queasy, too.  Now that Lerner has seen fit to sit down with two of the customers, others whose teams fall on hard times might be pressed to do the same.

36 responses to “Randy Lerner meets with two disgruntled fans

  1. It’ll be a cold day in hell before Mike Brown ever sits down with a couple of pissed off fans.

  2. You hear that Danny?
    Show that you care and actually do SOMETHING to show your fans that you care and are going to start doing things the right way.

  3. I heard Randall (DogPound Mike) on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike this morning. They asked him what Lerner said about Kokinus getting fired. Randall said something along the lines of Lerner didnt want to get into it because he didnt want to embarrass Kokinus’ family.
    That leads me to believe that the Kokinus firing may have been related to some kind of inappropriate behavior along the lines of Costanza sleeping with the cleaning lady.

  4. Mike, this is the way it should be. For years, even today I think, you can call the President of the GB Packers and he’ll take your call. Bob Harlan was famous for answering his phone directly, without screening, from fans calling in. Now I’m not sure the new Packer Pres. Mark Murphy is doing the same thing as Harlan, but he should. This is the way it should be. period. It costs them nothing.

  5. Browns fans, you have hope.
    Congrats to Randy Lerner for understanding what a pro team means to our cities.
    Here in Buffalo, Ralph Wilson’s ego and insecurities are wayyy tooo big to overcome.
    Ralph Wilson couldn’t care less about the fans as long as he is still calling the shots. Imagine that, a 91 year old running a pro sports team into the ground like this and not allowing reason to enter the equasion.
    Have pity on us…

  6. When Lerner asked about Eric Mangini, Randall said he told the owner it is not worth keeping the head coach if key players might leave or key free agents might not come based on disliking Mangini.
    They read that here first?
    Sources: Agents steering players away from Browns
    UPDATE: In response to this item, an agent who was not one of the sources for the original item contacted us, agreed with it wholeheartedly, and said, “I would put one of my players on another team’s practice squad before putting him on the Browns.”

  7. Daniel Snyder can you see this? Your deadskins want to communicate to you. You instead take away their ability to ‘give you a sign.’
    What people may not know nationally is that they have also started to enforce a long standing rule at FedEx that local TV cannot interview tailgaters. It has always been a ‘look the other way’ attitude that has now started to be enforced since the MNF embarrassment against the Eagles.
    This team is doomed as long as Snyder remains. Nobody with any credibility or even in their right mind would come coach this team.

  8. Owners underestimate the power that a simple, sincere gesture can have. The opposite approach – acting as though nothing is wrong and everything is wonderful – just further alienates the fan base.
    Arthur Blank has certainly made his share of mistakes as an owner, but on several occasions he’s made such moves to let the fans know he’s aware of what’s going on. In one case he dramatically lowered ticked prices; in another he took out a newspaper ad apologizing for a terrible performance on Monday night.
    In each case the simple acknowledgment that things were indeed bad helps the fan have some hope that a solution is possible. First step in fixing a problem is to admit you have a problem.

  9. Kudos to Lerner for listening. As a Steelers fan, I want the Browns to be competitive. Lately though its hard to hate them because they are pathetic.

  10. Am I the only one that sees this as a completely ridiculous and embarrassing move by Lerner? Meeting with two fans because they want to show their disgust during a nationally-televised game? Newsflash: the Browns have sucked EVER SINCE THEY RETURNED TO THE LEAGUE – not just the last couple of years! Lerner doesn’t want to be embarrassed on national television so he throws a couple schmoes a bone (pun intended) in a calculated P.R. move to call it off. How about winning, dipshit? Hire the right people. Draft the right players. Stop wasting your time with “Big Dog” and his other retarded buddies and start putting yourself in a position to field a winner. I pity the poor fans of Cleveland – all this shows is that he really, really doesn’t get it.

  11. Randy Lerner manipulates two slack-jawed rubes for publicity. Gullible fools all over the country lap it up as being genuine.
    Film at 11, right Cleveland media?

  12. In spite of their attendance and performance issues, the Jaguars have an owner in Wayne Weaver who I could see doing this kind of thing.
    Wayne has always been personally involved in community outreach (as has his wife Delores, who’s sponsored the construction of dozens of habitat homes in the community).
    I attended a dinner at the stadium a few years ago shortly after the 2006 draft, In addition to meeting all the new players (including Maurice Jones-Freaking-Drew), we had the chance to chat with Wayne. He’s a very personable man, easy to talk to and is genuinely concerned with the fan experience.
    People who knock this team should look closer at our owner to see how hard he’s working to make things better here. And the whining, fickle fans in Jacksonville should appreciate the kind of owner we have.

  13. Snyder sitting down with fans, unlikely. He takes so few interviews and hates bad press, which is all his team is getting now a days. Funny thing is he is so recognized in Washington i am sure he never goes anywhere without bodyguards. Only familiar places too. He is on the hot seat in the sense that the fans hate him now, but he does want to win, very badly. I have said it before and i will say it again, I truly think Daniel Snyder with make drastic changes to how he runs the Skins after this year. He has heard the fans, trust me. He knows how major a failing his decisions have been. And as a huge fan, he will change, and maybe, finally, be the owner the Skins deserve.
    Now though i expect major changes, do i really believe Snyder himself will change and be a great owner…oh fluck no. It will be a cold day in hell before Snyder becomes Jack Kent Cooke.

  14. Lerner’s waking up. He realizes the fans here are ready to storm the stadium and seize control one of these days and he has to do SOMETHING. This, at least, is something.

  15. Mangini will do too much damage if left unattended for the rest of the season. When I was in 7th grade, there was a special kid ( if you get my drift ) in the boys restroom, and he started pissing on kids he didn’t like. ( I ran too fast ) kick his ass out before he can piss on anyone else.

  16. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Mike Brown won’t even talk to media but once a year let alone sit down with 2 fans that may very well be close to wanting to assassinate his ass. Although the Bengals are playing good football, Mike Brown is still one of the Top 3, if not Top 2, most inept owners in all of sports. He’s ridiculous. But years like the one we’re having now continue to make him think he can make football decisions. I guess in his mind 2 good years out of 18 isn’t so bad.

  17. Michael Bidwill of the AZ Cardinals walks around and talks to fans before every home game. You can discuss anything with him. i.e. Boldin Dockett situations, what he thinks is the direction of the team, how the running game is panning out etc.
    Always a classy guy and always accesible. Probably why the Cards are doing better now. Old man Bidwill was a whole nother story.

  18. Hell, the only way Dan Snyder would sit down with fans is if they paid for lunch, and they promised not to speak or anything like that.

  19. So how do we all think he paid them to say good things about him? Money, tickets, booze, sexual favors, seats in the dawg pound, or moving expenses to a city that wins?

  20. As a Bengals fan this is why I hate the slotting of MNF and Primetime games based on last years hopes and dreams. Every year is different and who was going to be a good matchup last year only turns out to be some BS game like JV girls basketball. Just make the schedule for Sunday afternoons (1and4) only and if you are part of an interesting matchup your game gets bumped to the Sunday night of MNF by the Monday before. Ratings booster and we avoid situations where the Bengals have NONE and the Browns have a MNF game ~!~!!!!!

  21. I like that an owern would meet with fans. More should do this.
    But… I have serious doubt in the idea that the owner gave ANY insight on the future of the coach to them.

  22. These two “fans” are as douchebaggy as they come. I’m sure they had some strong words for Randy Lerner. I can only imagine how that conversation went…
    Idiot: “Mr. Lerner, thanks for taking the time”
    RL: “Son, is that a bone on your head? Did you seriously wear a bone hat to a meeting?”
    Idiot: “Yes, I’m, uh, a fan”
    RL: “Well, it was good meeting with you gentlemen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go into the other room and act like a grown up. Feel free to grab some of those Riddell childrens’ football outfits on your way out.”

  23. I don’t follow the Browns a whole lot but from what I know I think Lerner is taking a lot of heat for having bad luck. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to build a solid organization. He’s done everything that conventional wisdom has told him to do. He tried the #1 qb draft route and that busted. He tried the top college coach route and that busted. He tried picking up widely regarded assistants from the best coached franchise in the game and that busted. He, unlike some owners, realizes that he needs to delegate the management of the team to those who have the ability. And he’s been willing to spend. So I’m really not sure why he’s taking the beating that he is. This meeting with 2 fans business is just another example of how open he is about seeing the team become successful. Bad luck is bad luck. He seems like a good owner and a decent man.

  24. “So how do we all think he paid them to say good things about him? Money, tickets, booze, sexual favors, seats in the dawg pound, or moving expenses to a city that wins?”
    Quite the contrary, I’ve yet to hear anybody who knows the man personally or who has met him have a bad thing to say about him personally. By all accounts, he is a nice, genuine man who considers ownership of such an historical franchise to be a great honor. I wouldn’t expect any fan who’s met or conversed with him to have anything bad to say about him personally.
    The problem, as I and many other Browns fans see it, is that he hasn’t learned from his mistakes, and compounds one bad decision with another. His weird aversion to any media or publicity does him a lot of damage as well.
    Hopefully, he is now changing, but I don’t hold out much hope. A friend said to me recently, “it’s like somebody just woke him up and reminded him he owns an NFL franchise.”

  25. I’m with kravon about wanting the Browns to be competitive. Hating them as they are would be like kicking a sick dog.
    And goetta-head is right about MNF and SNF scheduling. The NFL needs to find a way to schedule the Big Games when we can all see them and avoid putting irrelevant games on the national stage.

  26. Goetta-head: Those two stooges who went to Lerner to discuss the Browns ineptitude saved your Bengals some embarrassment. If they hadn’t gone to see him, you’d realize how pitiful your fan-base is when you learned that the attendance at Browns Stadium for the “boycotted” MNF outdrew the Bengals and that the people of Cleveland could still watch the game from home without the help of Ocho de Mayo or any other Good Samaritan.

  27. I wonder if Randy will rehire Phil Savage to send these fans a polite email thanking them for their visit?
    But seriously…nice PR move on Randy’s part to face his biggest critics. I just wish he would do it in a more open forum and do more radio and TV interviews to say what his mindset is. I only hope he truly means what he said to them two knuckleheads and gives the big axe to Mangini after the season. He never deserved another chance to be a head coach in this league…just because he has a history with the Browns doesn’t make him qualified.
    Just because Charles Manson was experienced with the Beatles, doesn’t mean he would be invited to join the band. I would NEVER have hired a coach that was accused of snitching on his former team (the whole Patriots taping issue). It would be very difficult for the players to respect a guy who they can’t trust.

  28. re your “update” from the agent…he should be fired for derlict of duty…the paycheck on an active roster is better than that of the PS….
    what an idiot…

  29. Fire Mangini and make Rob Ryan the interm coach. Why not? What can it hurt? You never know, man. The guy has attitude. Give him half a season and see if the players respond to him…………

  30. I think Randy Lerner’s gesture of meeting with two fans isn’t all it’s being cracked up to be in these posts. In my opinion, this is his way of avoiding the need to speak to the media. He knew that this would get him some good PR. Moreover, he likely knew that these two “superfans” would be too awestruck to ask any tough questions or say what they really felt. (BTW, those two guys are attention seekers that do anything to get their face on TV, especially “Dawgpound Mike” Randall who formerly used the gimmick “Charlie’s Fryes” to get noticed on TV.)
    Randy has always been super private, which I can respect. However, when your franchise has performed as poorly as the Browns have during his family’s ownership, I think you owe it to your fans as a whole to hold a press conference to discuss the state of the franchise. And I’m not going to count the 2 minute conversation that he had with the Plain Dealer after the Bears game.
    The fact of the matter is that Randy and his family have made poor management decisions that have turned the Browns into a bottom five franchise. Randy, it’s time to address your fans as a whole, not just two attention seeking fans.

  31. GoBrowns19 says:
    November 4, 2009 11:21 AM
    Lerner’s waking up. He realizes the fans here are ready to storm the stadium and seize control one of these days and he has to do SOMETHING. This, at least, is something.

    Are you serious? Lerner OWNS the team. He doesn’t owe fans the time of day, and this publicity stunt with Bonehead doesn’t change anything.
    Fans are going to “storm the stadium and seize control?” What the hell are you talking about?

  32. A teams front office giving audience to pissed off fans is just a bad precedent. Next thing you know fans are gonna insist that season tickets come with the gurantee of some playcalling duties.
    I heard part of Dawgpound Mike’s appearance on the radio. In referencing Rob Ryan, he said that Ryan showed’ passion” by yelling and screaming on the sideline, and implied that he should be the coach because of it.
    Come on. Yelling and screaming dont win games. the best players, a good game plan, few injuries and luck win games in the NFL.
    Fans should stick to drinking, cussing, and yelling opinions–from the stands.

  33. @realityonetwo … Unreal, right? Sometimes when I’m reading I really expect Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I’m being punk’d.

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