Regardless of what meaning he intended to convey, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s comment last week that “the Browns is the Browns” did the media rounds and turned into a rallying cry for Cleveland, which frankly, if I were them, I would take and run with for the next decade.
His remark drew the ire of seemingly the entire team, with a number of their more prominent players speaking about it after the game when interviewed by the media. Others expressed their displeasure on social media through mockery and derision, with a smattering of unflattering language thrown in for good measure.
While he said that he doesn’t regret what he said after the game, he did try to give context to what he said. “They came out and they played a hell of a game”, he told reporters on Sunday night. “You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game”.
Smith-Schuster hopes that Cleveland shows up next week, but his young teammate, fellow wideout Chase Claypool, evidently does not—nor does he expect them to. During a live TikTok yesterday, during which he went over some film study from Sunday’s game and then answered some questions from fans, he said that he expects the Browns to “get clapped” this weekend, so “it’s all good”.
— Brad Stainbrook (BrownsWave) (@BrownsByBrad) January 11, 2021
Granted, there’s a good chance that they do get clapped, because they will be playing the number one seed, hosted by the 14-2 Kansas City Chiefs (who only lost in the finale while resting numerous starters). Patrick Mahomes is something else, to say the least, and under him, they have a history of coming back from deficits.
Still, a lot of people don’t appreciate such ‘honesty’ from players, especially fans, but some of their peers call it into question as well. Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, for example, weighed in on Claypool’s remarks about the Browns and the Chiefs. “I’m so tired of this new breed”, he said. “Shut up man”.
I’m so tired of this new breed… What does it matter if they beat you though. Shut up man. https://t.co/Xmh8U9rLbV
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) January 11, 2021
Truth be told, I don’t have an encyclopedic memory of Clark’s media interviews, and frankly, social media when he played wasn’t like it is today. Who knows how he would be in the NFL today if he were part of the “new breed”. He was part of the “new breed” when he was playing, which is how he ended up in the media, and there were certainly those who felt he talked too much as well.
The bottom line is you’re never going to please anybody. That doesn’t mean there aren’t reasonable boundaries for what you should probably avoid saying in terms of public honesty, either. Claypool is entitled to say what he feels, but that doesn’t mean it was advisable for him to do so. But he won’t have to answer for it, since he was bounced out of the playoffs already by the team he expects to “get clapped”.