Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown died last week at the age of 87.
There is little doubt or disagreement that he was one of the greatest NFL players ever to play the game.
And the Browns will need to figure out a fitting way to honor him in 2023.
Jim Brown Field? 32 jersey patch? Both? Give us your thoughts as to how the Browns should honor the legendary Jim Brown this season. Photo: The Plain Dealer pic.twitter.com/J82qpkEw7O
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) May 21, 2023
There has been talk of renaming a street near the stadium or even renaming the stadium itself.
Those are big long-lasting decisions beyond just wearing a patch with his number on the jersey and helmet.
And big overtures could be met with backlash given Brown’s off-the-field police record.
Brown’s Police Record Makes Browns Decision Difficult
Brown was arrested multiple times for assault with many of the victims being women, one of those arrests involved a rape charge.
Those incidents spanned from 1965 to 1999.
This was a different era, and those arrests were not as thoroughly vetted as in today’s society.
One in 1968 led to a charge of assault with intent to commit murder involving Eva Bohn-Chin who was found off the balcony.
Another involved his current wife Monique whom he was arrested for making terroristic threats against in 1999.
Jim Brown was an all-time running back and he did a lot of good work, off the field, after his retirement, but let's not forget that he was arrested 7 times on domestic violence charges, including throwing a woman off a 2nd floor balcony.
— Your Uncle Rog (@RogerMpls) May 19, 2023
The Deshaun Watson Situation Is An Added Complication
Some Browns fans are still healing from the team signing quarterback Deshaun Watson in March 2022 amid pending civil suits from massage therapists who claimed that he sexually assaulted them.
I am wondering how many of you who are condemning Deshaun Watson are also commenting on what a legend Jim Brown was.
— R Bundy (@OneOHGirl) May 20, 2023
The biggest difference between Watson and Brown in terms of their off-the-field issues is the timing of them.
Watson’s happened during his playing career in the “Me Too Movement” where a lot of scrutiny is placed on the man regardless of his stature in sports, entertainment, etc.
Brown’s actions happened after his playing days were over in an era when social media did not exist.
Males were held in high esteem, and the victims did not normally speak out or testify against their assailants.
His assault arrests are a black cloud that hovers over a legacy of great performances on the field and activism during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.
The Browns will likely take their time figuring out the best path forward because the answer is far from obvious.