January 30, 2013
The Browns were born in 1946, the year after the end of World War II. Veterans were returning home, and what did the Browns do but play for a championship 10 years in a row — four in the All-American Conference and six in the NFL.
This was unprecedented and gave birth to a fervent fan base. Along came Art Modell and he fired one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. Then there was the little episode of Mr. Modell suing a group of local bar owners because they bought rotor antennas and could get blacked-out home games from Toledo. Even though they didn't charge admission, the judge ruled in Mr. Modell's favor. If the bar owners had more money, they probably would've won an appeal. So what the judge said was, the bars could not turn on Channel 11 from Toledo between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays.
A rather small event but the character of the man was emerging.
Three Cleveland Indians' owners, Vernon Stouffer, Ted Bonda, and Steve O'Neill had the chance to sell the Indians for more money, but they chose to sell to people that would keep the team in Cleveland. That is called class.
If Mr. Modell had financial problems, he could have sold the team to a Clevelander and retired from football, thereby keeping his standing in he community. He was over 70 years old. He was on the board of The Cleveland Clinic and other charitable institutions.
But he was spiteful and moved the Browns to (I'm trying to find the proper verb to describe this, but all I can come up with is) stick it to the Cleveland fans.
Like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld, I say, "No Hall for you!"
Ernie Peto, Olmsted Falls, Ohio
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