How The Cleveland Browns Told Off Annoying Fans In 1974

This is a letter sent in by a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder in 1974 to management asking them to please terminate other fans from making paper airplanes out of the programs and sailing them around the stadium. You’ll poke your eye out! The reply back is something no company would have the cojones to do now.


cleaveland2.jpgThey don’t make ’em like they used to. Go Cleveland!

[via ACL]


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  1. dolemite says:

    That was one of the better laughs I’ve had today.

  2. uber_mensch says:

    Now THAT’s the America that I miss.

  3. Mike says:

    I’ve seen this a few times now, and it’s hilarious; but can we be sure it’s real?

  4. Cicadymn says:

    I wish they would have folded his letter up into a paper airplane boxed it up, and sent it back.

    But this is good to.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    So, was someone really using his signature and letterhead?

  6. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Bravo Cleveland Browns! Bravo!

  7. The_IT_Crone says:

    I really, really hope that’s real.

  8. Power Imbalance says:

    Ah the America of yester-year.

  9. Thassodar says:

    You can’t control what over a thousand people do. Even if 1/10 of them were throwing paper airplanes you couldn’t/wouldn’t catch them all.

  10. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Dale O. Cox: Dickhead, Esq.
    Really, how is the Cleveland stadium supposed to stop people from making and flying paper airplanes? Is it against the law? WTF? I bet this little weasel is just a riot to have at your party.

    Kudos to James Bailey for finding a better solution that I would have: Revoking Mr. Cox season tickets because of the threat of a lawsuit from Mr. Dickhead.

  11. toddkravos says:

    not real. (cleveland resident)

    • Hirayuki says:

      It seems too perfect to be real, but do you have any proof?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Shouldn’t the burden of proof be on the originator of the letters?

        • LTS! says:

          No, the burden of proof is on those making statements. Regardless of the position, if you make a contrary statement it is put upon you to provide substance to your argument. Otherwise your counterpoint is as baseless and unsubstantiated as the original.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Then, since you arter providing a counterargument to my statement, please provide proof, per your own assenine requirements.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Someone released these letters as a statement of something that actually happened. By your own logic then, the originator of the letters must provide proof.

            Not all statements are as two-dimensional as you seem to think they are.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The hell have you been smoking?

            The burden of proof is on whoever makes the initial claim. As the OP makes the claim that the letters are legitimate, the burden of proof is on the OP. Once they are proven to be genuine, any claims to the contrary would require evidence which itself refutes the original evidence.

    • Doubts42 says:

      Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. (Dallas resident)

    • SG-Cleve says:

      Looks real to me (Cleveland resident too)

  12. RayInChicago says:

    How do I know if it’s real or fake?

  13. Straspey says:


    I actually spent six weeks in Cleveland during the summers of 1974 & 1975.

    Judging from the reply letter – written by their General Counsel no less – it’s no wonder that for many years, the city of Cleveland was often referred to as “The Mistake By The Lake”.

    They tried to fix it a few years back by putting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame there.

    The great saving grace of Cleveland was their wonderful Cleveland Orchestra, – during the time of George Szell – was THE finest symphonic ensemble in the history of classical music in this country – and still remains so to this day.

    But, when people ask me, I tell them, “I did time in Cleveland.”

    • SG-Cleve says:


      Don’t bother coming back.

    • 451.6 says:

      It’s always nice when we can get an expert to weigh in on an article.

      • Straspey says:

        Yes – I know George Szell died in 1970. I went to see him conduct the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall back in 1967 & 68, when I was in high school.

        The Cleveland Orchestra, during the tenure of George Szell was the finest symphonic ensemble of all time, and their recordings still hold up today. I own and treasure them all.

        Many people still feel that the orchestra is still the best in the country – and one would be hard-pressed to argue that point.

        I spent the summers of 1974 & 1975 in Cleveland studying with one of the members of the orchestra. He was originally from Cleveland and grew up there. When he left the orchestra in 1976 to take another job, I remember him telling me how delighted he was to finally get out of Cleveland.

        When his wife told me she was sad to leave, I replied that I could not understand what her attachment was to the city – and her husband jumped in said, “Don’t you just hate it here ?”

        Just ask Art Modell.

        I was there then – and if you were born after 1975, then you weren’t.

    • Mudilo says:

      This senile rant is a fake- George Szell died in 1970…

    • RogerX says:

      Good riddance, clown.

      /Happy in CLE

  14. Shadowfax says:


  15. Bagumpity says:

    We’re not Detroit!

  16. LightningUsagi says:

    I think my favorite part is that the reply was dictated to and typed by someone’s secretary. LOL

    • Dollie says:

      I don’t think it was dictated. The standard notation at the time was :. If there was a typo or something wrong, they knew what secretary to blame.

      • Dollie says:

        Sorry, my original post edited out stuff I had put in brackets. It should read that standard notations were usually the “letter writer’s intials : secretary’s initials”, ie JNB:bjn

  17. smoketas says:

    Had this letter been produced in 2010 and the editors of had obtained a copy they would have made a big stink about customer service or some such other nonsense. I can see the headlines now “IS THIS THE WAY WE TREAT SEASON TICKET HOLDERS!!!!”

    I guess after 20 years it’s too late to talk shit huh. Glad to see some of your readers understand that sometimes the consumer is the asshole and not the company.

  18. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    My Google Fu is kinda weak today, but the earliest publication of this letter I could find is Dec 22, 2010:

    Funny how a letter as “epic” as this one could remain hidden from view for over 35 years.

    Just sayin’

  19. np206100 says:

    This isn’t a story about the Browns, this is about the Purple Browns.

  20. Pibbs says:

    Ah, the good old days.

    I’ve been to Cleveland a couple times in the past few years, and it’s exactly like the video!

  21. The Black Bird says:

    I don’t think it was really dictated to a secretary. The “JNB:bjn” seems to me to be sort of a joke. It looks like the “B” from “JNB” was simply moved from being the last initial to being the first.

  22. cmdr.sass says:

    It’s fake.

  23. SkokieMick says:

    God and to think that something could make me like the Cleveland Browns…

    /grew up on border country between Browns and Bengals
    //Never understood those losers that like the Browns
    ///that includes my dad’s entire family…:-D

  24. Crim Law Geek says:

    Let’s assume it’s real. I’m betting the community of high-end lawyers in Cleveland was pretty small at the time. It’s not unreasonable to think the two lawyers involved (Cox and Bailey) knew each other socially. Thus, this is probably an in-joke between two bored rich lawyers.

  25. trencherman says:

    I just googled Dale O Cox and came up with a lawyer, still in practice, who passed the bar in 1963. I wonder if it’s the same Dale O Cox from this article. Even if it’s a different person entirely, this story would be a little embarrassing.

  26. caknuck says:

    A quick Google search on “Cletus Roetzel” gives ample evidence that someone by that name was practicing law in Akron in the 1970’s, so the letterhead is (putting on my Jamie from Mythbusters beret here) plausible.

    Considering that both Cox and Bailey are attorneys from northern Ohio, it is conceivable that they knew each other personally, so this may have just been a saucy reply to an acquaintance whose context has been lost in 35+ years of Browns futility.

    Another theory is that because Cox is listed on the right (junior) side of the letterhead, that Bailey sent this as a prank to humiliate “the kid” and told other guys at the firm to look out for the letter.

    Then they all got drunk and slept with their secretaries, who all look like Christina Hendricks.

  27. george69 says:


  28. stevied says:

    Let me see….

    if the original letter was legit (in that arsehole actually signed the letter) then the Browns legal team just stated “we farking ignored the letter because we thought it was a frigging joke” thus preventing the potential lawsuit being filed by the arsehole should the paper airplane strike the eyeglasses of the arsehole and cause injury to the eye of the arsehole.

    (somewhere in the end of that sentence there is a joke but I will leave it for others).

    Of course the Browns legal team might actually know the lawyer from the lawfirm, in which case the Brown legal team was informing their dear friend that some arsehole had stolen firm letterhead.

    Then again, it took the Brown’s crack legal team 3 Calendar days to compose their response….. which is quite reflective on the quality of employees hired by Art Modell.

    But don’t forget, this entire letter writing campaign could have been just an exercise in the Lawyer Full Employment Act…. everybody knew it was a joke but it was done to keep their office staff busy.

  29. YokoOhNo says:

    First liar, er lawyer, setting up financing for his kid’s education…scumbags, all of them.

  30. FrugalFreak says:


  31. chaosnoise says:

    Pure win!

  32. nacoran says:

    It seems like a good example of prior written notice. If someone gets their eye injured by a paper airplane this would jack up the settlement substantially. There are law firms that go around cities noting all the defects in the sidewalk and sending notification to the city. They don’t do it to get the city to fix the problems (they don’t note the severity), but by filing the paperwork the city becomes liable for anyone who trips at any of the thousands of little dings in the sidewalk.

    The stadium could try to stop the airplanes by out the people throwing the planes when they get caught. A more clever solution might be to encourage people to build snub-nosed planes instead.

  33. Hirayuki says: