The fan who was wrongly identified by the Cleveland Browns and accused of pouring a beer on Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan in Week 1 has filed a lawsuit against the organization, according to ESPN.
Ryan had a beer poured on him by a fan in the fourth quarter of the Titans’ 43-13 win on Sept. 8, after Malcolm Butler ran back an interception 38 yards for a touchdown. The Browns quickly identified Eric Smith as the fan who poured the beer on Ryan, and banned him from FirstEnergy Stadium for life. Yet less than 24 hours later, the Browns reversed course and said they haven’t identified the fan in question.
Smith filed his lawsuit on Tuesday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, court and is seeking both financial damages and a public retraction from the Browns, per the report.
The Browns didn’t publicly name Smith, though he quickly defended himself on Twitter after receiving a call from the Browns informing him of the ban. He claimed he wasn’t even at the game — he was working as a DJ for a wedding that day — and hasn’t been to a Browns game since 2010.
I legit just got a got from the @Browns telling me I've been banned from the stadium for throwing the beer in Logan Ryan's face Sunday. I'm fairly certain I haven't been to a game since 2010.— Eric Cougar Mellensmith (@TheBeardedDJ) September 11, 2019
Cleveland, per ESPN, privately apologized to Smith after the incident.
“Maybe [the Browns] Googled ‘Eric Smith’ and ‘beard’ and ‘Cleveland’ or something,” Smith said in September, via the Washington Post. “My company has pretty good SEO, so I do come up [in searches]. In one of the first pictures, you can see a tattoo on my forearm.”
The Browns have not identified the correct fan in question, and declined to comment to ESPN about Smith’s lawsuit.
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