Losing sucks. Just ask any competitive athlete. You hate to lose. When you get beat really badly, it stings harder. When a team you're accustomed to thrashing gets the best of you, however, that pill can be the hardest to swallow.
Sunday in Cleveland, the Browns exorcised some major demons in a 31-10 pasting of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It wasn't even close, despite the first 15 minutes that were controlled by the visitor. Even with history and what appeared to be a good game-plan to start on their side, things went horribly wrong early in the second quarter.
In today's world of professional sports, ego and image are larger than talent and skill. You still need the latter of this parallel to play, but the bigger the bark, the more attention you can command. That's both good and bad. Your swagger can be taken the wrong way and draw the ire of your opponent, making for some tense situations.
As the Browns were having their way on Sunday, some of the Cleveland players took the liberty of enjoying the moment perhaps a bit too far by taunting several Steelers toward the end. One play in particular at the end was a bit chippy when Le'Veon Bell was hit hard late in the fourth quarter by Jabaal Sheard & Tashaun Gipson who came in late to clean up.
After the play was over, Gipson came up on Bell as he was getting up and started barking and waving a finger in his face. He received a 15-yard taunting penalty for his efforts.
You would think that would be the end of it. The gun sounded, the game was over and the two teams went their separate ways.
Or so you thought.
Jeff Hathhorn, the sports director at 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh spoke to Ramon Foster after the game and asked specifically about the chatter towards the end. Foster's response was a bit surprising.
"Just a bunch of guys that never had success that's all that was."
Really Ramon? That's how you handle it, by taking a shot at a team that has physically, mentally and statistically owned your butts since the 3rd quarter of week 1? You call them out for being guys that have never had success?
A poor choice of words to say the least and not what you should say, even if you feel that way. Why give them the satisfaction? Why allow them further reasons to take joy in your misery? The Browns have been flat-out better than the Steelers this year. It shows in their play on the field and on the scoreboard, not to mention in the standings, where the Steelers, if Ramon didn't notice, sit dead-last in the AFC North.
No, you don't say what Foster said to any reporter after such a complete and total breakdown in every single facet of play. I guess if anything can be said about Foster's words, it's that they were honest. That's refreshing and welcome actually. The standard cookie-cutter responses can be cliched and tiresome to hear, but Foster has to rise above that. He can't allow the Browns' exuberance, no matter how tough it is to swallow, to get the best of him in a public forum.
Save it for the film room.
Or perhaps save it for the next time you face the Browns. Allow that burning memory to propel you in the next meeting. Just don't lower yourself and get caught up crying over something you should be above.