John Big Dawg Thompson
Many people don't know his name. Just about no one knows what he looks like under the rubber dog mask. Everyone, however, knows him. He is Big Dawg. He is the leader of the team. No, not the team that plays, but rather, the team of fans that once sat in the bleacher section of the venerable Cleveland Stadium.
John Big Dawg Thompson is Canine in Chief of the bleacher loving Dawg Pound. He is perhaps the most recognized fan of any sport in the entire world. For 10 years he came to the stadium, dressed in Browns garb, a rubber dog mask, and an orange Browns Helmet, and led the cheers for all fans at the stadium, and fans world wide.
When the Browns left for Baltimore following the 1995 season, Big Dawg took action. He led a group of fans that took it upon themselves to fight for this team, this city, and these people. His voice was heard as far as the Congressional Judiciary Committe in Washington, D.C. He testified that a team belongs to the people, and that no one man can take a team away without a good cause.
The team ended up moving to Baltimore, but perhaps partially due to the efforts of Big Dawg and all fans, the NFL granted a new team to Cleveland. Not only that, but they also granted the colors, history, and heratige of the Cleveland Browns along with it.
Read Big Dawg's testimony below:
Good Morning Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee,
It is a pleasure to offer my testimony regarding this
important issue. The Cleveland Browns are a vital part of
our history. Many things have changed over the past fifty
years, but not the love and devotion of the fans to our
My testimony is shared by many Cleveland Browns'
NFL fans across our country. Our team's history is one of
the NFL's very best and most important. The great players,
fans, and coaches that have come and gone through the years,
have built this historic team, the Cleveland Browns. Our
name Cleveland Browns came from Paul Brown our first coach.
What a great tradition! Many former players and coaches
have made Cleveland their home, as well as many of our
current players today. These guys are a big influence in
our city because of their endless work with so many
charities.They are involved with many kids and groups like
the Big Brother Program, Make A Wish Foundation') United Way
and so many others. These players also work with the City's
Muny Football league that is sponsored by The Cleveland
Browns. This program gives about five thousand kids an
opportunity they badly need. This program gives these kids
self-esteem, responsibility and stability. Some of these
city kids can not afford a football let alone spikes, socks,
shoulder pads, jerseys or helmets. Yes! I think The
Cleveland Browns are a source of civic pride that we should
I've been a Browns fan for as long as I can remember.
been a season ticket holder for eighteen years. The past
ten years I've been dressing like I am dressed today as Big
Dawg # 98 in the Dawg Pound. The Dawg Pound is probably the
most identifiable section of any stadium, ballbark, or arena
in the world that was founded by the fans themselves. In
these ten years I have been able to meet thousands of
Cleveland Browns fans from all over the world. I've also
had the chance to visit a number of other football cities,
while attending Browns away games. At each game I met
thousands of Browns backers. Fans like these are what makes
the NFL today. That is why we, the fans, desperately need
rights to protect our investment.
- Yes, we paid for the tickets year after year win or lose!
- Yes, we paid for the parking year after year win or lose!
- Yes, we bought the shirts or coats year after year
- Yes, we bought the hats and scarves year after year
But you see ladies and gentlemen that is not the investment
I'm talking abouW!!!!!! I'm talking about fans personal
Trading NFL cards, trying to get my favorite Browns
Painting my NFL electric football games pieces with
Entering, the NFL punt, pass and kick contest and
winner in the ten year old group!
Wearing my Cleveland Browns'jersey with # 44 on it,
Kelly's number, only because my favorite player Jerry Sherk
72 was not available but that was A because Leroy was my
second favorite player.
* The time ex - Browns Charlie Hall and Bubba Bean
refereed one of my. sixth grade football games, and
having them sign my collectable Shell Oil NFL
* When Don Cockroft came to my school to talk. I'll
never forget the story that he told us about how after
he would kick a field goal he would raise his arms as
to say it was good, but he told us he really was
thanking God I These are the fans investments I'm
talking about! Fans need rights to protect themselves
from men who park on runways in lear- jets waiting for
secret knocks to sign secret deals to take away our
childrens' opportunity to have an investment in the
Cleveland Browns or any other NFL team. Remember
ladies and gentlemen and Mr. Chain-nan this testimony
is of just one fan.
There are hundred's of thousands of NFL fans across
country who have the same investments and feelings.
Yes, Fans Need Rights, But Most Of All Fans Need
Their Loyalty Returned By The NFL NOW!