Man mistakenly ID’d by Browns in beer-dumping incident sues team
A man who was mistakenly identified by the Cleveland Browns as the fan who dumped beer on Tennessee Titans players during a Week 1 game at FirstEnergy Stadium is suing the team.
Court records confirm that Eric Smith filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning in Cuyahoga County, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
The incident occurred after Malcolm Butler’s pick-six during the Titans’ 43-13 blowout win over the host Browns. As Titans players celebrated, a Browns fan wearing a Baker Mayfield jersey seated nearby was caught on camera dousing them with beer.
After Titans cornerback Logan Ryan went public to condemn the fan’s inappropriate behavior the following day, the Browns announced the individual, once identified, would face a ban.
The Browns later announced that the fan in question had in fact been identified as Smith. After Smith was subsequently informed of the ban by Browns vice president of ticket sales and service Bob Sivik, he pleaded innocence, indicating on Twitter that he hadn’t attended a Browns game since 2010.
Smith also added he had an alibi, as he claimed he was DJing a wedding on the day of the game.
The Browns did apologize to Smith privately for publicly misidentifying him, according to the lawsuit. In a statement issued in the week following the incident, the Browns indicated the team had “not explicitly identified the individual involved or taken any formal action of punishment.”
A Browns spokesman has declined comment on the development, citing the pending legal matter. Smith is seeking a public retraction and will pursue financial damages as well, according to his attorney, Bruce Taubman.