Northeast Ohio Should Be Embarrassed

By: Will Burge

It is hard to imagine now, but there was a time when LeBron James was the most beloved athlete in Northeast Ohio and possibly the world.

This young man was “chosen” to lift a sports curse which has plagued this region since 1964. This young man seemed to never say anything wrong and made everyone else around him a better player.

Former Cavalier Lebron James

Fast forward to June 13th, 2011 and this once revered young man is now public enemy number one.

As much as LeBron James should feel disappointed and ashamed, Northeast Ohio should feel embarrassed.

We should be embarrassed for the way everyone groveled at the feet of this young man only to watch him shun his family and hometown on National TV.

We should be embarrassed for our reaction immediately following “The Decision”. The burning of jerseys, racist tweets, and drunken rants captured by national reporters is not what this area represents.

We are better than that.

The region should be embarrassed for celebrating a championship which they had nothing to do with. For all the bad things that have happened to us in our area, why would we wish ill will upon others? I guess misery loves company.

We should feel embarrassed because the young man who ripped out a region’s heart, was not worthy of even holding a place in it.

More than any of that, however, we should be embarrassed because this young man will forever be connected with us. Right behind the name LeBron James will always be the location Akron, Ohio.

We should be embarrassed because none of the things that make our area so unique can be found in the most prominent person to hail from here.

How is it that loyalty, humility, and respect for others are nowhere to be found in this young man? For that, we should be embarrassed.

LeBron is from an area where “we”, “us”, and “ours” is always more important than “I”, “me”, and “myself”.  Somehow, none of the values that we hold so dear were engrained in a person that was supposed to represent us.

Maybe the biggest disappointment was not that LeBron James left without winning Cleveland a championship but rather that he was ever from here at all.

He is only 26 years old and there is still plenty of time for LeBron to mature.

But for now, I am embarrassed for him and for us.



  1. You are a moron. That’s the only reaction I have to your idiotic blog post.

  2. I don’t think we should be embarrassed for our reaction to his leaving or his losing. Sports is all about emotion and taking sides. By leaving, the Chosen One chose to be against us. It is only natural — and appropriate — that we root against him vocally and viciously.

  3. Really Will? Really?

  4. Why don’t you just go to south beach with him

  5. You are a smug cocksucker, obviously you aren’t very familiar with NE Ohio but this is how we act and treat people. This is a poorly written article. Take your talents to South Beach as well

  6. Worst read ever! Nothing netter to write about that to bash Cleveland fans!? Really? Great journalism idiot!

  7. Worst read ever! Nothing better to write about than to bash Cleveland fans!? Really? Great journalism idiot!

  8. Seriously Wil, save it. If you’ve ever had a boss unjustly fire you, and then a year later you hear he was fired from that same company, you definitely have a “good! Karma to you” moment. That’s what this is, right now…Clevelanders acknowledging and celebrating the karma coming back on this selfish person who tried and failed to bolster his reputation in part by publicly humiliating Cleveland in the process. Clearly you have no idea what “civic pride” is.

  9. As a performance coach for traders and athletes AND “just a girl from Akron, Ohio” living in NYC … this is what I think –

  10. Will, you nailed it, I am so have a sports station in Cleveland that has hosts and interns constantly bash on Cleveland fans and the teams. One day we may be lucky to actually have real sports talk in Cleveland again. Until that day I will continue to be “embarrassed” of our sports station.

  11. Are you kidding me? We have no reason to be embarrassed. Last night was a sweet victory for the team that was better. It proved that the supporting cast is not the problem. The only common denominator is to LBJ’s streak of losing is LBJ. It is not his teammates, his owner, his coach, etc…get the story straight.

  12. What’s next, you gonna tell us we should embrace Art Modell and be ashamed of the way Browns fans acted after he ‘had no choice”?

    Everyone is happy that a player who’s took the ‘easy road” to a championship, said as much while throwing his former teammates under the bus for the TEAMS failures in the playoffs, was defeated while playing as if he were just observing what was going on. It was okay to hate him when he played so weel versus Boston and Chi? It was okay to hate him b/c only then, after he beat these teams, he offered an apology to the fans of the city? Yet now we should pity him b/c he fell short, yet again, of a ring and the fans, WHO PAID HIS SALARY and bought everything w/ his face on it and made him a lot of money while he was here, should not still have a negative reaction to last years “prison rape” on national tv.

    I haven’t seen one person or interacted w/ a person on a local fan site who’s acting like their team won. They were happy that James got what he deserved with his play this series.

  13. I wish you, Goldhammer, and Fedor would all take their respective lack of Cleveland pride to anywhere outside of Ohio’s borders.

    We are embarrassed for all 3 of you!

    • I agree 100%

  14. I should be embarrassed for my actions? I am not the one who crushed millions of hearts when he lied and said “oh I just decided this morning, Im talking my talents to south beach”. I’m not the one who promised millions of hard working blue collar citizens something I don’t have the power to do, like bring a championship here “on his own” even though they made every trade he wanted and brought any piece he asked for here to help him. When that arrogant asshole left like that I PROUDLY BURNED MY JERSEYS!!!! you think anything could make me put those back on?! If he said sorry I made a mistake I want to be traded to the Cavs I wouldn’t want him back. Then the 3 cocky assholes celebrated like it was Monday Night Raw after Wrestlemania and they had already won the not 4..not 5…not 6…not 7rings, dancing around in a smoke machine to lame music and being raised in the air with a pitchfork. The Mavs are a great team full of underrated veterans that deserved a titles and they outworked the young arrogant Heat and upset them. FINALLY SOMETHING GOOD IN SPORTS HAPPENED. you should be ashamed you’re sucha moron and wrote this article…

  15. Will, I appreciate and respect your opinion. However, when a local boy goes on the global scene and uses terms like “I”, “me”, “myself” and other 3rd person phrases (in a team sport nonetheless)……its hard for this NE Ohio region (who prides themselves on loyalty) to call him one and support him as one of our own when he spurned us to the magnititude of Art Modell.

  16. Embarrassed? I am embarrassed FOR YOU! LeBron is not the only prominent person to come from Akron. Astronaut Judith Resnick? Oh she was an intellectual so she was nothing to you. Do you know that she died in the Challenger tragedy? Do you know what Challenger was? How about broadcaster Hugh Downs? You could learn a thing or two from his body of work.
    You chastising us for cheering on Dallas? Anything that levels #666 I will cheer for!!! A 26 year old has reached full mental and emotional maturity. There is no hope for him ever developing into the mature person you wish him to be, you LeBron lover.
    I am so embarrassed for you that I was cringing while reading your post. Do you still have the smell of his butt on your nose? How much did LeBron pay you?

  17. did you get fired after this stupid blog

  18. Sorry, I’m not embarrassed at all!

  19. Do you live in Cleveland Will? Or are you another transplant from a different city like Hammer or a front runner like Fedor??

  20. You are a complete moron.We shouldn’t root against the guy who quit last year in the playoffs,then conspired years ago to join Wade and Bosh then make 5 teams come into town to court him even though he knew what he was doin,then goin on national tv and embarrass us and show zero remorse for the fans that supported him for 7 years.Not to mention his tweets when we were in the midst of a 26 game losing streak.You have zero credibility

  21. Cleveland needs to own one thing: WE are the Dr. Frankenstein that created LeBron. Perhaps we should learn from this mistake and not put our athletes up on quite so high a pedestal. The fall from that great height is BOUND to be painful for everyone.

  22. You are such an idiot. i cannot believe that you would put your name on such garbage journalism. i find your stance about how NE ohio should be “embarassed” very pathetic. you make me fucking sick

  23. This blog shouldn’t surprise anybody, this is the kind of stuff we have been accustom to hearing from this media outlet, oops I mean sports marketing company. As much as a lighting rod as Triv is, remember he was right all along. That gives crediblity, this station has zero. When is the last time this station broke a story?

  24. Wow, thanks for wasting 3 minutes of my life with this garbage!

  25. Will, I love your idea on this piece. I am a former sports journalist who followed LeBron throughout high school and so far through eight seasons in the NBA. I am from AKRON, OHIO!
    But all the praise and glory of your piece ends right there. I disagree strongly and I guarentee (not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six) but multiple people would certainly agree with what I am about to say.
    I’ve lived through The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot and The Decision and am a loyal Cleveland sports fan. When he announced his decision to leave Cleveland for where? SOUTH BEACH…I was angry and upset. I didn’t burn anything of his but I didn’t support him either.
    What you lack in your piece is very clear. You say WE as Northeast Ohio people should be embarrassed…Really? WILL, were you embarrassed last summer when he put on a terrible dog and pony show in Bristol, Conneticut in front of the Boys and Girls Club of America to announce his DECISION to leave? Face it, as most Clevelanders would say, we don’t mind he left, BUT IT WAS HOW HE LEFT!
    If you think for one second Northeast Ohio people should be ashamed of themselves, take a long hard look at AMERICA! It is the land of the Free, and Home of the Brave. NO ONE wanted the Miami Heat or LeBron James to win that championship.
    I think LeBron is a tremendous player and almost agreed with Scottie Pippen about his comments about being better than Michael Jordan. There is tons that Jordan has that LeBron will never have. MJ never took a shot in a postgame interview saying, “I’m rich and you’re not!” MJ’s finals record speaks for himself and he has SIX (count them and take notes) NBA Titles to his Name. He showed up in the fourth quarter when it counted (17 points in six games of the NBA finals is hardly MJ worthy). Look is stagger stat for you…D-Wade and LBJ 62 points in the fourth quarter…Dirk 62 points by HIMSELF!
    Lastly, if you want to blame anyone, Blame LBJ! Was HE the same player in the NBA finals than he was in the other NBA series’? In Game 6, he looked to pass the ball more in the fourth quarter than attack the lane.
    LBJ’s Finals Record – 2-8.
    I will always, ALWAYS be a Cleveland Sports fan…through the good times and through the bad. But keep in mind this Will, this piece shows a lack of class on your part. Before you write something, get the facts straight!

    • Well said Brian!Keep up your great work.Have the utmost respect for you and enjoy your opinions and the work you do.

    • I am PROUD OF YOU for writing this.

  26. You are why N.E. Ohio should be embarrassed! Do you actually like anything about Cleveland? Why you here?

  27. Will – You should be embarrassed by your lack of writing ability. Maybe you should take your talents to South Beach…there are a bunch of losers there right now…you’ll fit in. And stop writing articles telling us we should be embarrassed…are you from Cleveland? Did you send years worshipping, buying tickets, and t-shirts, fatheads etc of a hometown boy who promised not to leave us? Take a long walk off a short pier. Oh and you’re not welcome in Cleveland…we don’t need anymore ignorant haters who tell us how we should feel and act. Go Mavs !!!!!!

  28. Will,

    You are a huge idiot. The guy is scum. He is the only one thinking “I” and “me”. When he finally realized that he is not a number 1 but a number 2 he decided to find a number one. He is one dimensional on the offense of end of the floor and he plays defense when he feels like it. This guy put us all down in his press conference and that showed me the true Lebron James. The Descision show also showed us that is all about him. This plan was in place to get together with Wade a long time before the descision was announced. He let those teams come to Cleveland to beg for his services just for an ego trip.


  29. what is embarassing? we did nothing wrong. you dont see a parade down euclid. you dont see shots of the Q having a watch party. you dont see the sherwin williams poster being replaced by a huge DIrk poster. what are we supposed to cry whenever the yankees lose? Will you are the biggest idiot thats ever stepped foot on this planet.

  30. Will, either you are not FROM Cleveland, or if you were you were brought up in a sheltered life and never attended a single Cavs, Browns, or Indians game. You obviously do not understand the meaning of so many 2 word terms that begin with “The” that are blazoned into Cleveland history: The Catch, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Ninth, and now The Decision. I seriously do not believe you understand this. Perhaps you should quit your job and move out of Ohio, where people may take you seriously.

    But here in Cleveland, we are not embarrassed, nor should we be. We are proud Clevelanders. Proud of who we are, where we’ve come from. If you were born and raised in Cleveland there is over a 75% chance your Grandparents were as well.

    DON’T EVER tell us we should be embarrassed about ANYTHING.

    YOU, Mr. Burge, should be embarrassed to call yourself a sports blogger for Cleveland.

  31. Will, you must have been neglected as a child. Maybe your parents were too embarrassed by the way you chose to express yourself. Do everyone in Akron, Cleveland and the rest of NEO a favor and stop expressing yourself in this ridiculous blog. In fact, don’t ever write anything again so you don’t embarrass yourself further. Take up something much less embarrassing as a profession and kindly stfu you moronic toolbag.

  32. I respectfully disagree with the majority of this article. Cleveland has always had a passion for it’s sports and the city always feels most unified while sitting in one of it’s arenas and cheering on the Tribe, Browns, or Cavs. I think we can be embarrassed about the immaturity of some fans after the decision, but as a whole, the hate directed towards Lebron comes from the same place the support did for the 7 years he was here. As a city, we wear our heart on our sleeve which is what I love about this area.

    I will agree with one point though, it never really felt like Lebron was from here.

  33. who the %$&@ is will burge?

    if he was a native ohioan, he’d know that schadenfreude was the state pastime.

  34. You are lame! You only posted this so you could get attention for yourself!

  35. This article shows a complete disconnect between the author and his readers.

    A rich and smug sports star tried to beat the system, failed, and we should feel sorry for him? That is like saying we should be happy for big time CEO’s who take bailout money and then still take millions in bonuses. Why should someone with so much wish to break the system to get a little bit more? Why should we approve of it?

    We are not cheering because the city of Miami lost. We really aren’t cheering that Dwayne Wade lost. Dwayne Wade took less money to make his team better. We may not like him by association, but deep down we don’t hate him. We ARE cheering for the supreme justice of the universe. The justice dealt to those for whom enough is never enough. The justice that says, loyalty will be rewarded, and that treachery will be punished.

    Hard work should always be the way to success. Never the easy way.

    We cheer not for the loss LeBron James has endured, but for the win by those who work hard, and show loyalty to their teammates. We cheer for all of us who work hard and loyally.

  36. URADick ! Are you a lib by any chance ? Go hug a tree you unadulterated wanker

  37. You are proof butt plugs can somehow hold a job. If I worked at a soup kitchen I would hire you …. no maybe not, those people need to enjoy their dinner. Maybe a waste treatment plant.

  38. J Gleason – Do you mean Souf Beach ?

  39. Well… I happen to know that Will Burge is from Cleveland, OH and grew up on NE Ohio sports just like we alll did… I love this article and I feel bad for the yankers who couldn’t read to the last few paragraphs to get his twist…Don’t get me wrong… Like many Clevelander’s, I applauded Miami’s loss… LeBron does not define us… He is not what we thought he was… He is less and when we continue to pursue his downfall, we stoop to the same level…

    “Maybe the biggest disappointment was not that LeBron James left without winning Cleveland a championship but rather that he was ever from here at all”

    I couldn’t agree with that quote more and I am so proud that one of hometown writers can see past the emotional bullshit to get to the heart of the disappointment…. he never was one of us….

  40. Will,

    Sorry you’re getting berated here by degenerates who despise transplants (heaven forbid anyone ever move to Cleveland; that couldn’t be what the city actually needs…) and people who claim to be journalists but then rant in all caps.

    I’d push back on your negativity regarding jersey burning; that’s a lot different than racist comments.

    In terms of being excited about someone else’s championship, I’d refer you to Wetzel’s piece for Yahoo. Last night was the second happiest I’ve ever been about a championship (Ohio State’s national championship being on the top of my list). Even had it not been against Miami, I would’ve been pumped for Dallas because I have a soft spot for guys in their twilight finally getting the ring.

    It was a good night for integrity and a horrible night for player collusion.

    And, again, sorry for the tools.

  41. Will, I am not sure of your credentials, I am just a sports fan and grew up in Cleveland. Your article is just wrong. First it is sports not life and death. It was fun to root against LBJ. Second LBJ’s performance in the finals proves that he lacks the mental toughness to win. The CAVS lost last year because LBJ quit, not because of the supporting cast as LBJ claimed. Third LBJ’s post game comments about regular people lives proves that he has a lot of growing up to do. Forth LBJ and Wade making fun of Dirk also prove that both of them have a lot of growing up to do. They acted like little kids when the finals did not go their way. LBJ reminds me of Mark Cuban’s performance in the 2006 finals. Cuban’s immaturity was part of the reason for the Mavs collapse. LBJ should take a page from Mark Cuban’s book and use the loss to do some growing up. You should read all the comments above and realize how wrong you are and use them to realize that you need to GROW UP TOO. Maybe one day after LBJ grows up sports fans can feel good when he finally wins a championship.

  42. Now the interns are writing columns. Go back to your crappy radio show which is only good when you guys get pranked.

  43. While I see the point that you are trying to make, I can’t help but feel this is example #23094820384023 where a WKNR personality purposely takes the view completely opposite of 99% of their listener base and exploits it for the sake of drumming up readers/listeners/drama, etc. I moved to Atlanta recently for a job and one of the very few things that excited me about leaving Cleveland, was that I could expel WKNR from my life for good. And frankly, that is sad. For years, the station was all I and most of my friends would listen to. Over the past year and a half, I can tell you we all stopped listening. While I don’t constantly want a homer, I do want a station that I feel in some way represents how I feel as a lifetime Cleveland sports fan. And with very few exceptions, this is not the case. At this point, it would be very hard to convince me that WKNR personalities aren’t instructed to at times purposely take the opposing opinion of the bulk of the listener base in order to rile people up and fuel ratings. And clearly there is a large portion of fans that enjoy getting pissed off and writing/calling so that they can express their anger at you guys. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. I hit a point where I didn’t care to drive around and get pissed at Fedor or Hammer or Rhoda or any of you any longer over opinions that I think half the time are manufactured to inflame. And again I know a handful of other people that feel the same way. I know none of you care but I feel you should know there are some of us out here who your schtick has worn thin on. I think you’re a smart guy and I think you’re ultimately good at your job. But I also feel you wrote this blog entry to do nothing more than piss people off. It is the Goldhammer/Fedor/Bentley School of Broadcasting and I for one am happy I dropped out.

  44. The one thing I don’t understand from the kiddie brigade over at WKNR is why they think we are celebrating a Dallas Championship? Are they so disconnected from what Cleveland Fans think/feel that they just don’t get it? We aren’t celebrating a title. We are celebrating Lebron’s lack of one.

    The Heat could have played the Pittsburgh Steelers and we would have rooted for Lebron to lose. We celebrated him getting the biggest poop sandwich he could ever eat. We celebrated the fact that a team can beat a bunch of mercenaries who colluded for a easy title.

    Finally…. What is it that we have to be embarrassed about? For all Lebron did it was a sports level embarrassment. Pushing the boundaries maybe, but sports related none the less. Well we responded with sports type passion… but within the realm of sports. Was his house burnt down? Was his family attacked or even harassed? No.

    No… All that happened to Lebron was that some people burned his jerseys. Very few at that and 99 percent was done quietly in some fire ring in a back yard. People voiced their hatred for the man. But they did it in sports terms. I don’t quite know where the racist comments things come in. But I’m confident in any town that if a minority player did something to upset the fanbase there are the fringe morons who would do the same. It doesn’t mean Cleveland is any more so.

  45. Burge…overall, I like the blog. I feel bad you got a little thin skinned with Roda on the air yesterday around 6:00 pm. Seriously, if you were Aaron Goldhammer, you would be so overjoyed by all the response to YOU, that you would NOT even care that you took a little heat (no pun intended). That is my silver lining on this topice…that Aaron did not write this missed out on the “REACT TO ME” attention he craves.

    Calm down, Willy B – you will be okay!!!

  46. Okay, the “Congrats Mavs” billboard on i-71 IS embarrasing.

  47. The only thing I am embarrassed about is hosts like you assume that your opinions represent cleveland fans. I will never forgive or forget what lebron did to us, and will root for any team that has the chance to knock him out of the playoffs. It happened to be dallas that avenged us, who cares if people embrace them.

  48. Embarrassed? For us? This from one of the guys that helps perpetuate the childish “bump and run” segments on KNR? For THAT, you should be embarrassed!

    • Touche’!

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