What began as a regional uprising has swiftly grown into a continental revolution. The protests–now in their sixth week–threaten to topple some of the biggest names in football. Any hopes that the revolt would end after the downfall of Bills owner Ralph Wilson were dashed as disgruntled NFL fans resolve to take to the streets daily in cities league-wide until their demands are met.
The crisis started last month in Buffalo after a suspected self-immolation (later determined to be a grease fire) at the Anchor Bar sparked a revolt by angry Bills fans. Protesters caused Wilson to flee into exile in Toronto. Similar movements soon took hold in other undeveloped areas such as Charlotte and Oakland.
Browns owner Randy Lerner urged fans to ignore the protests, even as thousands streamed into the streets of Cleveland. “This fringe movement is the product of lies and distortions by the same media that spies for Israel. They have poisoned once patriotic Browns fans with their hallucination pills,” Lerner announced during a hastily-called televised address. Lerner’s attempts to marginalize the revolt were in stark contrast to the sounds of protests in the street. Chants of “DON’T FRANCHISE KICKERS” rang into the night.
In Washington, protesters cited a repressive political environment as they spent another night camped in Dupont Circle. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder responded by shutting down access to all media unfavorable to his regime. Minister of Public Information Kornheiser attempted to downplay the significance of the protests, dismissing the disaffected revolutionaries as “bourgeois and devoid of craft and nuance.”
In Cincinnati, Bengals owner Mike Brown declared a state of emergency, vowing that he will die a martyr before ceding to demands he hire a general manager. Brown unsuccessfully attempted to mollify the protester by installing a figurehead offensive coordinator. When appeasement failed, Brown adopted a hard-line stance. “He showed what he really thinks us when he set tanks on his own people” said a protester, “Sure, Tank Johnson’s just one guy, but he can be very persistent.”
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