CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns will open the home portion of their 2021 schedule this Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Houston Texans.
However, two local members of the Ohio House of Representatives are urging Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, along with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, to change the name of the stadium.
On Friday, Reps. Jeffrey A. Crossman (D-Parma) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) sent the Haslams and Jackson a letter detailing their concerns with the continued promotion of FirstEnergy Corp. by the Cleveland Browns and the City of Cleveland.
In July, FirstEnergy Corp. admitted criminal wrongdoing as part of the ongoing federal probe of a $60 million public corruption scheme involving former Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and potentially others at the Ohio Statehouse. The company agreed to pay a $230 million penalty.
“If someone associated with the Cleveland Browns went out and robbed a bank, they would be cut or fired immediately. FirstEnergy essentially went out and robbed Ohioans of millions of dollars,” said Rep. Crossman. “Why are the Browns pretending that FirstEnergy is a good corporate citizen and continuing to promote them?”
In 2013, the Browns and FirstEnergy agreed to a 17-year, $102 million deal for naming rights of the stadium. From 1999 through 2012, the facility was known as Cleveland Browns Stadium when the Lerner family owned the team.
"Immediately returning the name to “Cleveland Browns Stadium” this year is an appropriate solution until the City and the Browns organization can find a more deserving and reputable replacement. Therefore, we respectfully urge you now to do the right thing by all of Ohio, especially the Cleveland Browns family of fans, and immediately cease your affiliation with a company that helped orchestrate the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history," Crossman and Smith wrote.
You can read the entire letter below: