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Say hello to the very first they/them pronoun elf mascot in NFL history.
During a Tuesday interview with Cleveland radio station 92.3 “The Fan,” Brent Rossi, senior vice-president of marketing and media for the Cleveland Browns, made it known his marketing staff has yet to determine the gender of the team’s new mascot Brownie.
That’s right, we have ourselves a gender-neutral elf in the NFL who has long been thought to be a he/him.
“Last year we kinda called it the year of Brownie,” Rossi told show hosts Nick Wilson and Dustin Fox. “I’m sure you guys saw he was much more visible in terms of creative, in terms of messaging, and in terms of how we integrated Brownie — him or her or she, I’m not sure what Brownie is…it? — into our creative.”
Gender-neutral Brownie, who was dressed up as Woody from Toy Story for Halloween last October, isn’t some mascot the team pulled out of a hat for the 2022 season. The story of Brownie goes back 76 years ago when Brownie was introduced as the Browns first official mascot.
In 1961, when scumbag Art Modell bought the Browns, he told the elf to take a hike.
“My first official act as owner of the Browns,” Modell reportedly said at the time, “will be to get rid of that little f—er.”
Now Brownie is back and it seems as if the “little f–ker” has been reimagined by a front office that clearly doesn’t want to trigger the wokes that would lose it if the team had a male elf mascot.
So brave, right?
In a 2022 column where he told the history of the Brownie mascot, ESPN’s Jake Trotter clearly used the wrong pronouns when the veteran journalist wrote, “more than seven decades ago, Brownie was the boyish face of pro football’s most dominant dynasty. So prolific, he very nearly once became the logo on the helmet.
My how times have changed.
To get a little perspective on the world of fairy lore, Trotter contacted an expert, British author John T. Kruse, and asked him about the history of the Brownies creatures.
“He’s a small, hairy … creature that lives in houses and farms with people,” Kruse told Trotter. “He undertakes a range of domestic and agricultural chores on the understanding that he gets free board and lodging from the humans.”
How did the Browns end up selecting a Brownie elf as its mascot?
Historians believe an Atlas Beverage Company advertisement featuring Brownie caramel cream root beer and a Brownie elf in downtown Massillon, Ohio could be where the mascot idea came from. Paul Brown was coaching high school football at the time and might’ve become familiar with the logo on the root beer advertisement.
By 1946, Brown was back from World War II and hired to coach Cleveland’s new professional football team. The team held a nickname contest — the Browns were born — and Brownie the elf soon adorned ticket sales advertisements for the Browns’ first game against the Miami Seahawks.
As we enter the 2023 NFL season, it’s going to be very important for NFL reporters and bloggers to use the right pronouns when referencing Brownie. Don’t be like Jake Trotter and just assume Brownie’s gender.
Trust me, we’ll be watching. You Big Js are officially on notice. Brownie is a they/them.