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Vendor crackdown: Who is selling Cleveland Browns merchandise, what are they selling and who regulates it?

A city ordinance requires a street vendor license and identification badge. Without it, police can confiscate items and remove a vendor.

CLEVELAND — While many fans continue to represent their team in a respectful way, others were buying and wearing what some consider to be controversial.

Painting the streets before Browns’ games with orange and brown, hats and jackets are dozens of vendors.

But there are questions of who is selling and what’s being sold.

“I really like talking to the fans, messing with the fans, that’s what it’s really about,” one vendor selling ahead of the rivalry match up against the Steelers said. “We’ve been doing this for over 20 years.”

Messages on posters, shirts, and swag are more vulgar than years before.

Many messages references the controversary surrounding Deshaun Watson, whose debut with the team has been suspended until December 4, following violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“I don’t sell it but if people want to buy it from them, that’s on them,” a vendor told 3News.

To sell on the street, a city ordinance requires a street vendor license and identification badge.

Without it, police can confiscate items and remove a vendor, just like they did during late August pre-season game.

A six-man mobilized vice unit, made of five detectives and one sergeant, confiscated dozens of hats, shirt and jerseys from an unlicensed vendor.

For vendors who are properly licensed and have been tanking to the streets for years, the change in tone is a distraction for business, they say.

“It’s cutting into my profits,” one vendor said. “The city needs to come and crack down. I do everything the right way.”

For other vendors with an expletive approach, they wouldn’t comment.

“Could I just ask you a couple questions in terms of the profanity?” 3News’ Marisa Saenz asked.

“No,” another vendor responded.

“Could we see your permit?” Saenz asked another vendor.

“You don’t have to wonder about me. Get out of my face,” they responded.

Whether it’s an appropriate or expletive message in a public space, the first amendment still applies.

However, First Energy Stadium officials said they’re policy does not allow vulgar or offensive clothing, banners and signs and any other item management deems appropriate.

Additional Coverage on WKYC.com:

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