CLEVELAND — The eyes of America are on Browns fans and the Muni Lot as Cleveland gets set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Thursday Night Football," following backlash and some disappointment during last Sunday's home opener.
Inside FirstEnergy Stadium, a fan was charged with assault and banned for life after throwing a water bottle at owner Jimmy Haslam. In the Muni Lot, one group made light of the sexual assault allegations against quarterback Deshaun Watson in a vulgar manner.
"I thought it was maybe a little bit edgy, but it was funny, in my opinion," Edward Haskl, who has been tailgating in the Muni Lot for 20 years, said of the startling image that was shared across social media. "I wasn't offended by it or anything like that."
"We're a strong fan base," Katrina Walker added when asked if she thinks Browns supporters have a "bad rap." "We just have taken a lot of abuse over the years."
But with the public black eyes such as offensive signs and t-shirts along with memories of the infamous "Bottlegate" fiasco of 2001, Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb is calling on fans to do better.
"Act like you have some manners," Bibb told 3News, "and make sure you act with good behavior that represents the values we have here as Clevelanders."
Still, some loyal members of the Dawg Pound say it's all "potty talk."
"I think that being on the edge of humor and having dark humor is probably more prevalent in the Muni Lot than it would be in general," Scott Nunnari said. "I mean, we're Browns fans. If we don't have dark humor, we can't survive this."
And those crossing enemy lines say the Cleveland fan base is nothing to worry about.
"They're honestly pretty good," Steelers fan Hunter Gordon admitted. "Better than Ravens fans, better than Bengals fans, I'll tell you that."