The Browns' Move to Baltimore


Last week's announcement of the Cleveland Browns' move to Baltimore generated plenty of response, both about the move itself and about The Sun's coverage of it. Some of those letters follow:

Coverage on the mark

If they gave a Pulitzer Prize for intelligent, reasoned, non-"homer" coverage of a sports franchise move, your people would win it in a walk this year.

As I read John Eisenberg, Ken Rosenthal, John Steadman, et al. after the Glendening/Modell announcement, I kept thinking about how rare it is to see a spirit of tough journalistic inquiry and a sense of perspective brought to one of these moments when many fans -- and sports reporters -- just want to cheer. You accomplished that in spades.

Eric Engberg

CBS News correspondent


Modell lied to Cleveland

Shame on Art Modell and shame on Baltimore! I have lived in Baltimore for the past three years, but I grew up and spent the first 26 years of my life in Cleveland. I was born and raised on the Cleveland Browns. Naturally, I am disgusted by what has transpired during the past week.

Two wrongs do not make a right! Bob Irsay putting your Colts on the Mayflower for Indianapolis was a terrible wrong to your city. Modell has blatantly lied to the city of Cleveland and is now just as guilty as Irsay ever was. Former Gov. Schaefer as much as said so.

Modell is a liar. He told Cleveland that he never would move the Browns. Now he is talking to real estate agents in Baltimore. He placed a moratorium on further discussions with the city of Cleveland regarding stadium funding until after the season, supposedly because he did not want any distractions to the team. Instead, he goes behind Cleveland's back and strikes a deal with Baltimore.

Yes, now you have an NFL team, but at what cost? Cleveland's misery aside, you as a city are compromising your integrity and reputation by climbing into bed with this man. I was disgusted to hear Baltimore fans saying that they loved King Arthur. I can guarantee you that he does not love you and never will. He will love you only for your money. Don't forget Bob Irsay.

I commend John Steadman and Ken Rosenthal for their unbiased and objective columns during the past week. They truly have been sensitive to Cleveland and its fans, and I believe they see this deal for what it is worth.

Patrick Vall

Catonsville To the residents of Baltimore:

No doubt today, many of you will take great joy in the return of the NFL to your city. Your city is deserving of being restored as a member of the league.

However, at what price are you willing to be restored? The decision to move the Browns to Baltimore is as immoral as the decision was to steal the Colts from you. There should be little joy in Baltimore today as you will benefit from our misfortune. It is a disgrace that our cities participate in the ransoming of franchises, pitting us against each other. Are we now to work to steal another city's franchise and contribute to the increased wealth of these greedy, morally bankrupt owners?

A warning about what you are getting: While we passionately love our Browns, you are welcome to Art Modell. Don't trust what he says. It has been 31 years since the Browns have played for the championship. In that time, we have blindly supported him through mistake after mistake.

You won't have the misfortune of having to deal with his latest mistake, Bill Belichick. No doubt by the time he actually moves, the architect of "his best team since 1964" will fall by the wayside, a victim of the terrible team he has built. You will be spared from the man who alienated an entire city against his beloved team.

The reason for the move is greed, not need. Art Modell and his son, David, have run their proud franchise into the ground. They have spent millions of dollars in signing bonuses for players who aren't even playing for them. They can't compete with top teams from an organizational standpoint. So, he needs your money to correct his financial mistakes. You are bailing him out.

Welcome back to the NFL. It is a hollow victory. You are benefiting from our undeserved misfortune.

Martin Zanotti

Parma Heights, Ohio

Where's the celebration?

I still don't understand the motives of the sportswriters at The Sun. After years of fighting for an NFL team and getting wronged by Paul Tagliabue, Jack Kent Cooke, numerous others and the NFL in general, we finally have gotten a team. This is a time for celebration for Baltimore. Why should we feel guilty about anything? If the NFL would have done what everyone knows would have been right, it would never have come to taking Cleveland's team.

Unfortunately, the day after the official announcement, the feature articles of the sports section criticized the cost of tickets, the taking of the name and the fact that we are now no better than anyone else (and that's debatable), and compared Art Modell to Bob Irsay (please!).

All I can ask is, why? Why do you people feel it necessary to criticize what we've been waiting to gain for 11 years? Suddenly, we are in the wrong for everything? Lighten up, people. And for once, just be happy and print something good without dwelling on the negatives of every team we have in town.

Eric Wilkes

Baltimore I never thought I would see the day I would agree with a Ken Rosenthal column. His column Monday regarding the Browns' move to Baltimore was right on the mark. Unfortunately, it probably also was ignored by too many Baltimoreans.

Any fan who cursed Bob Irsay for his actions but now supports Art Modell for moving the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore is a hypocrite. As Rosenthal so accurately notes: "Sports reflect society. . . . Just grab the dollar baby. Grab that dollar and don't apologize." The Colts leave town for a better financial deal and we are outraged. The Browns come to town for a better deal and we are overjoyed. Hello, sports fans, are we reaching you? This is the land of integrity calling.

Our politicians are committing hundreds of millions of dollars of citizen tax money to one family and can't even find ways to better pay for Maryland schools. I am beginning to understand how our forefathers felt when they fought against "taxation without representation."

Joel H. Hassman


Stallions do it right

Under no circumstances should we be allowed to be used again to enhance NFL monopolistic greed. The Stallions of the CFL are a more than worthy successor to our love affair with the memories of our Baltimore Colts. They present football in an exciting, dynamic and entertaining form, and they deserve to be supported enthusiastically. The Stallions deserve to be sold out every home date, just as our beloved Colts used to be.

Fans, understandably, are important to the CFL owners and the players are, unlike the NFL multimillion-dollar specialists, talented all-around football players who give 110 percent because they love the sport, not just the bucks.

At one time, I found the NFL with our Colts most enjoyable. Now, I look at the NFL with disdain because it is a grotesque distortion of the marriage of sports to commercialism.

Fred Tepper


Change the name

It is noteworthy that in 1953-54, a baseball team named the St. Louis Browns would be relocated to Baltimore and that in 1995 a football team named the Cleveland Browns would take that same step.

If Art Modell is wise, he would change the name of the football team, as did the St. Louis Browns, which we now know as the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore Irsay has a deep NFL tradition that does not need to be reinforced by carrying on the old name. Allow the city of Cleveland the opportunity to name its next team the Browns, as I wish Bob Irsay had done when he moved our Colts. As I watch our new team, I do not want to feel as if I am watching a Cleveland away game at Memorial Stadium. Please change the name and begin a new era in Baltimore.

Michael McWilliams

Federalsburg I am disgusted with what is going on today in professional football and in Baltimore as we compete shamelessly in the marketplace for teams that belong to and belong in other cities. What happened to human values in sport, if you can call it sport anymore?

What happened to the love of the game (rather than the love of money)? What happened to sportsmanship, loyalty and respect? Instead, I see confrontation, selfishness and self-aggrandizement.

It is time to say to the NFL, power and money: "You have taken the wrong course. You have forgotten what is important. We do not want you here!" We already have a team, a great team. The players enjoy the game and are paid at human scale. They play in a comfortable stadium steeped in football history. Tickets are affordable for many working-class Baltimoreans.

Baltimore, say "no" to the NFL. Don't forget your values and your priorities. Don't turn your back on something good and chase after something that is not worth it.

Stuart Miller


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