When I heard the announcement of former Browns owner Art Modell's death on Thursday, it brought me back to a dark day back in October of 1995. Modell announced he was taking the Browns to Cleveland to become the new Baltimore Browns. As a kid growing up in a household where all you talked about at the dinner table was how and why the Browns were going to win on the upcoming Sunday, it drove a dog bone the size of old Cleveland stadium when he called my Cleveland Browns the Baltimore Browns.
On Thursday when ESPN and the NFL Network were doing all the puff pieces they could on this villain, it made me want to throw up just like I did when I saw Art calling my Browns the Baltimore Browns on that dark fall day back in 1995.
The two big networks were describing Modell as a man who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Give me a break. The only Hall of Fame Art Modell should be in is Pro Sports Hall of Shame.
The national networks have been lauding Modell as a visionary who brought Monday Night Football to ABC, even though former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and ABC's Roone Arledge were the true pioneers that made Monday night must see football.
In my mind, what makes you a Hall of Famer is what you do on the field and in the case of Modell, what your team does on the field. What Modell did after he purchased the team in 1961 was turn what at the time was the New York Yankees of the NFL into what almost turned into a bankruptcy. That's when he took a deal with the city of Baltimore to bail him out of all his years of poor business decisions.
It's unknown if the city of Cleveland would have came to his rescue had he let then mayor Michael White know of his financial predicament before he blindsided everyone with his decision to move the Browns to Baltimore.
But Modell did not think of his fans who at the time were 4th in league attendance. All he thought about was himself and his cowardly son David Modell. Art's son David was the guy who two weeks before the move was announced, went on a Cleveland radio station and let all the city know that there was no way the Browns were moving out of Cleveland. Liar!!!!
His own bad business decisions led to his financial collapse, not the fan support or the organization's revenue. Like when he assumed control of Municipal Stadium without inspecting it for structural integrity. Then he borrowed lavishly to install suites into his decaying stadium when interest rates shot up to 20 percent.
That's when he made the decision to spit on his customers who were loyal to him for three decades. Instead of being a man and coming clean, he took the city of Baltimore's cash and ran.
He only thought of himself then and only thought of himself until the day he took his last breath Thursday morning.
I hope Art Modell rests in peace. But on Sunday Browns fans, when they ask for a moment of silence, BOOO until he shakes in his grave.
Del Yates www.noozebox.com