OK, it's just time to say it: Roger Brown makes stuff up. That's the word on the street anyway. When a veteran Northeast Ohio sportswriter such as Hal Lebovitz (and when we say "veteran," we mean "was the last person to interview Custer") levels the charge, we tend to give it weight. Said the late Lebovitz of Brown (to Clevescene.com): "I can't compete with fiction." Many other area writers tend to agree, as well as fans, and of course the many athletes he's crossed. In fact, the only Brown less in favor these days would seem to be former FEMA director Michael Brown, who at least had one supporter ("You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.").
Let's go to the vital statistics.
Name: Roger Brown.
Columnist: The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Former Jobs At Paper: Metro Section, Radio-TV Critic.
Nicknames: Roger Clown, That Guy Who Makes Stuff Up For The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Sworn Enemies: C.C. Sabathia (Indians), Paul Silas (Cavaliers), Jeff Garcia (Browns), Mike Trivisonno (radio host, WTAM).
Trusted Friends/Companions: MLS fans, all woodland creatures (except the owl).
Common Online Reference: "Roger Brown isn't as totally full of shit today as usual." (posted by many).
Most Resembles: Rico Tubbs.
When the Plain Dealer went looking for a sports gossip columnist, they took a bold chance — plucking Brown out of the Lifestyles section, where he had been giving readers detailed breakdowns of the latest episode of Survivor. Suddenly he was charged with dishing the inside dirt about the Cleveland sports scene, even though he didn't have many contacts. And so, a lot of his columns looked suspiciously, uh, fishy. In one famous column, he announced that the Cavaliers were going to fly LeBron James' mother to all away games. Not true, said the Cavs. Of course, Brown did break the news that Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia was dating Playboy Playmate Carmella DeCesare. If that counts as "breaking" or "news."
But just as often he'll write about what the announcers had to say about the game that night (Brown loves to hang with announcers), or reveal what players had for dinner. True, Brown often asks the tough questions when few in the meek Cleveland sports media will do so. But too often, when he doesn't get answers, he will:
a: Get into a loud locker room argument, or;
b. Kind of, you know, add some writer's embellishment.
What is Brown's future with the Plain Dealer? Sources inside the newspaper are quietly predicting that he is on his way out.*
* = May be completely untrue.
(As always, we're taking nominations at firstname.lastname@example.org)