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When Your Team Moves, What's A Fan To Do?


The loss of a sports team can be a devastating event for a city and its fans. There are people in Brooklyn who still light candles for the lost Dodgers and people in Baltimore who lament the flight of their Colts. They feel confusion, heartbreak, anger and loss. Cameron Lashley watched the Cleveland Browns since he was a kid.

CAMERON LASHLEY: The trials and tribulations of being a Browns fan - that's ingrained into pretty much every instance of my life that I can remember.

SIMON: And then the dark day came in 1996 when Art Modell, who owned the Browns, moved them to Baltimore. The team became the Ravens, but they never became Cameron Lashley's team.

LASHLEY: Most of the people that I know who are Browns fans, they don't look at the Ravens and say oh, that's my team. Sometimes they look at it and they say that should be my team, but it's really not.

SIMON: It took four years for a new Browns team to come to Cleveland. Cameron Lashley roots for them from Georgia now.

LASHLEY: But I still consider myself to be a Browns fan. And part of that is I consider myself to be a person from Ohio, and that's part of what I identify as being from Ohio is being a fan of this particular team.

SIMON: The Browns haven't had a good year, haven't had a few good years actually. St. Louis no longer has the Rams. The owners in San Diego and Oakland would like to move their teams, too. What would happen if the Browns skipped town again?

LASHLEY: You know, I love my wife. If my wife were to divorce me and go off and move on to someone else, I might get to the point where I'm not seething mad about every day, but I'm not going to forget it. And I'll probably still be angry about it for as long as I can live.

SIMON: Cameron Lashley has some advice for St. Louis fans and their shattered hearts.

LASHLEY: Make the point. Make the noise that, hey, we're here in St. Louis, and we're ready to support a team. And sooner or later, someone's going to tap into that, and if there's a market there for it, they'll - they'll come take your money, basically (laughter). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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