Don't expect NBC analyst Bob Trumpy to apologize for his withering condemnation of the Ravens' relocation here from Cleveland, because he says he has nothing to be sorry for.
Trumpy, who blistered the Ravens in an article in the current issue of Inside Sports magazine, calling the actions of owner Art Modell "criminal," said yesterday that he was unaware of any uproar that may have erupted here surrounding the article.
And that wouldn't matter anyway, said an unrepentant Trumpy, since his comments were directed at Modell and not at Baltimore.
"Look, I'm not going to plead my case to the Baltimore fans. I'm not interested in doing that. I owe them no apologies. I think a lot of these things happen where one person reads an article, reports it to another person and it's passed along by a third, and suddenly what's talked about is not, in fact, in the article," said Trumpy.
In the September edition of the magazine, Trumpy, who dictated his thoughts to an Inside Sports writer, wrote: "I despise the whole concept of the Baltimore Ravens. . . . This team will be hated everywhere outside of Baltimore. . . . Art Modell's actions were criminal. . . . I see nothing but gloom and doom for this franchise. . . . I wish the Ravens high winds and muddy fields; I wish them empty roads to and from the ballpark; I wish them cold hot dogs. I wish them nothing but bad."
In an odd twist, Trumpy will find out whether the roads will be empty and the field muddy when he works Sunday's first-ever Ravens regular-season game against the Oakland Raiders for NBC.
Trumpy and play-by-play announcer Tom Hammond were assigned to the game before net work officials became aware of the comments, which came in a season preview.
Despite his intentionally pointed comments, Trumpy said he will be professional.
"I've never been a fan of that word 'objectivity' or being objective. That has never crossed my mind. I'm there to judge that team on that particular day," said Trumpy. "I've never gone into a football game thinking, 'Geez, I've got to be as complimentary to one team as I am to the other.' I'm just there to observe."
A former Cincinnati Bengals tight end, Trumpy played here in a 1970 playoff loss to the Colts. He said he had considered Modell, who hired him to do color on Browns preseason games one year, a "terrific friend."
However, the relocation of the team from Cleveland to Baltimore changed their relationship forever, Trumpy said.
"I distinctly remember when the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles that Art was one of the most outspoken critics of Al Davis, how he talked about the continuity of the league and how it could destroy the league's character," said Trumpy. "Being in Cincinnati, I remember all of that and I always had this tremendous feeling for Art Modell, that he is a guy who put his hand in the flame as part of the brotherhood to stay there and keep it intact.
"Now, he's joined with a group that I don't have a lot of respect for. [Oilers owner] Bud Adams, who moved his team from Houston to Nashville for money, [Colts owner Bob] Irsay, Davis and [Rams owner Georgia] Frontiere. Those owners took the big bucks for whatever reason. I just never thought Art Modell would do that.
"I personally hope that he got enough money and that all of his worries are satisfied, because I don't consider him a part of the inner circle of the NFL anymore. He may be, but I don't consider him a part of the inner circle."
Trumpy, who said last night in a radio interview that he will meet with the Ravens' owner in the next couple of days, said that given the circumstances surrounding the 1984 move of the Colts, Baltimoreans should understand the pain Cleveland fans are experiencing.
However, he said he does share the sentiment that Colts fans did not get the same consideration from the league and from the media as did Browns backers.
"I agree with their premise totally. This move appears to have the league squarely behind [the feeling] 'Cleveland got screwed,' because they have put money into Cleveland, they have negotiated with people in Cleveland to get things done," Trumpy said.
"For that, Baltimore has to feel cheated again, jilted, as they had to do that all themselves. I think their position is absolutely correct and their frustration is warranted. 'Why didn't they help us when Irsay picked up in the middle of the night?' "
For the record, Trumpy says he thinks the Ravens "have one hell of a team," with one of the three best offensive lines and the best safety tandem in the league in Eric Turner and Stevon Moore. And he is looking forward to being a part of the setting at Sunday's game.
"I'm not going to apologize to the Baltimore fans. I understand their sensitivity to the situation, but this is not directed at them. They waited a long time for Sunday, and I hope it's as raucous on Sunday as it used to be when [Gino] Marchetti played there," said Trumpy. "We can't avoid references to the Cleveland Browns, but we certainly can celebrate the fact that there was a time when you came to Baltimore, you got your butt kicked, big-time."
In a related development, ESPN announcer Chris Berman said in a conference call this week that he felt, through talking with some people in town and from visits for baseball games, that fans here were "embarrassed" about the way the Ravens came to Baltimore, given the way the Colts left the city 12 1/2 years ago.
"Once we start playing the games, that embarrassment will turn to excitement, as it should. But I know that the feeling down there is, 'We're excited about having football, but don't let everyone know that we're excited, because we're embarrassed about the way we took it from Cleveland.'
"I'm saying that as a compliment to the city of Baltimore. This isn't an unbridled joy thing, like we got an expansion team here like Carolina and Jacksonville and the way they supported the team.
"It's almost as if they're excited, but they don't want to party too loud right away because you're spoiling someone else's deal, because Baltimore lost a team just like [Cleveland lost] the JTC Browns, a team rich with tradition."
Pub Date: 8/29/96