Eric Smith told The Washington Post on Wednesday he received word from the Browns that he had been banned from games at FirstEnergy Stadium. However, Smith said he wasn’t at the stadium during the game and, in fact, hadn’t been to a Browns game in nearly 10 years.
Bob Sivik, the team’s vice president, told Smith that they had identified him through camera footage that showed a man with a red beard and a tattoo on his arm and accused Smith of giving Ryan the unwarranted beer shower, according to The Washington Post.
Smith said he does have a red beard and a tattoo but hasn’t’ been to a game since “I think 2010.”
“Maybe they Googled ‘Eric Smith’ and ‘beard’ and ‘Cleveland’ or something,” he said. “My company has pretty good SEO, so I do come up [in Google searches]. In one of the first pictures, you can see a tattoo on my forearm.”
The Browns admitted Wednesday night that their investigation was still ongoing.
“Our investigation of the fan incident on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium remains ongoing,” the team said in a statement. “While we are continuing to gather information and have been in contact with multiple people as part of that process, we have not explicitly identified the individual involved or taken any formal action of punishment at this time. We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.”
Ryan had taken exception to having a beer thrown in his face after he jumped into the stands to celebrate teammate Malcolm Butler’s touchdown.
“Yeah, you know, in this day and age it’s ridiculous,” he said Monday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I understand that we play football. I understand that we’re modern-day gladiators. I understand that fans feel like they can yell and say and degrade, whatever, but you know, we’re human beings.
“And I think in society nowadays that’s, with everything going on and everybody deserving their rights, I think as a player to hop up over the rail and to have beer splashed in your face and you’re not allowed to respond. Fans are allowed to throw beer in our face and yell whatever they want to yell at us and there’s no penalty?”