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Sandusky man's Heat jersey not cool with Cleveland fans

Andy Ouriel • Jul 31, 2010 at 3:18 AM


Sandusky resident Matt Bellamy believes he made The Decision -- the right one.

Bellamy, 29, proudly displayed his white LeBron James Miami Heat jersey -- No. 6 -- on Wednesday night at a game between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees.

He was at Progressive Field in Cleveland -- perhaps one of the worst places, apart from Quicken Loans Arena, to wear such a garment.

When Bellamy and his girlfriend first arrived to his bleacher seats in left field, he experienced some good-natured ribbing.

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But Bellamy's bleacher-mates, clearly upset at his choice of attire, turned on a dime and soon became vicious.

The fans quickly adopted an attitude toward Bellamy like the one they'd taken with James himself, after the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player made "The Decision" on national television recently.

The Decision, as a painful review: James left Cleveland for South Beach, to play for the Miami Heat.

Cameramen at Progressive Field placed Bellamy in their crosshairs and broadcasted the footage on the stadium's JumboTron, where 22,000-plus fans booed him.

And then it got really ugly.

People nearby threw alcohol and food at Bellamy, along with cursing him and making obscene gestures as he and his girlfriend watched in awe.

"It was actually pretty pathetic," Bellamy told the Register on Friday.

Cleveland police then asked Bellamy and his girlfriend to leave the game, offering to escort them from their seats for their own safety.

Bellamy said one officer even swore at him, asking why he would choose to wear such a jersey in Cleveland.

"It's America," Bellamy said. "You can wear whatever you want.

"I have every right to be there," he said. "I'm a paying fan just like everybody else. We purchased the seats and all we wanted to do was cheer the Indians."

Bellamy is filing a lawsuit against the Indians for being wrongfully treated.

In the last 48 hours, meanwhile, he has become something of a national sensation.

CNN and ESPN have covered the story, while Miami radio shows have scheduled interviews with him in the coming days and weeks.

And in this era of instant news gratification, more than 225,000 people have viewed video clips of the incident on YouTube. The number of views is growing by the thousands each day.

The Miami Heat even invited Bellamy to visit them.

Bellamy plans to attend the Heat-Cavaliers game when James returns to Cleveland. He hasn't decided which James No. 6 Heat jersey he'll wear -- he has the both red and black jerseys to complete the set.

And while he's upset over James' choice to leave his hometown and team of seven years, Bellamy said he understands The Decision.

"If Cleveland would have made the right moves, he wouldn't have gone anywhere," Bellamy said.

So who will Bellamy root for if the Cavs are up one point and James shoots the ball for the Heat as the clock winds down?

"I'm rooting for the Cavs," he said, "because Cleveland needs a winner and deserves a winner."

He should buy a jersey that says that.

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