An 8-year-old boy was leaving the Browns-Jets game in Cleveland with his family on Sunday when a drunken Browns fan came up to them from behind, calling them a "bad word," and tackling the young fan to the ground.
Both NFL teams have reached out to the family offering their sincerest apologies for the unfortunate situation. Jets executive vice president of business operations, Matt Higgins, contacted the family personally.
"It's terrible, what happened to that little boy," Higgins told ESPN.com. "As a father myself, I can say it tugs at you. We reached out to them, hoping we could raise their spirits. But, in talking to the family, they'd like to maintain their privacy. They have no plans to take us up on the offer at this time, but it's an open-ended invitation."
The Jets offered to fly the family to New Jersey to watch a game in a luxury suite in the New Meadowlands Stadium. Not only that, but they offered to send them autographed memorabilia from coach Rex Ryan and players.
According to the report, the family declined.
The young Jets fan, a Cleveland native, went to the game representing Gang Green because his father grew up in New York and passed his love of the Jets on to his son. The boy's mother stated that the fans were great in the stadium but as soon as the Jets rallied for a 26-20 victory over the Browns, Cleveland fans were not happy to say the least.
"Calling him a bad word, to my husband and to my son, throwing food at them," she said of the fans, according to WEWS in Cleveland.
When the family got to the parking lot to leave, they encountered some unexpected trouble.
"As [my husband] was walking, holding my son's hand, a guy from behind tackled him. A drunken Browns fan tackled him and pulled him out of his dad's hand. He was on the ground crying," the mother said, according to the station.
Instead of calling the police for the incident, the father quickly took his son and wife to the car and left the scene. Despite the scraped and bruised knee that the 8-year-old suffered due to the tackle, he told his father that he still had a good time.
"My husband asked him, 'Did you have a good time?' He said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Would you want to go back sometime?' And he said, 'No, I don't like Browns Stadium.' Who could blame him?" the boy's mother said.
The mother wrote a detailed letter to The Plain Letter newspaper in Cleveland, which in return brought the Browns around to contact the family offering "anything we can do." The family has politely declined any offer from the two teams, wanting to keep their situation private.
The family had been nervous about bringing their child to the game but the mother explained that she believed "Clevelanders are such great people. I knew that they would never hurt an 8-year-old kid, never."
That drunken Browns fan proved her wrong.
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