League-wide moment of silence for Modell could be disastrous
As reported by the Baltimore Sun, the NFL today announced thatthere will be a moment of silence to honor the late Art Modell before everygame this weekend.
League commissioner Roger Goodell informed Ravens PresidentDick Cass of the decision. Cass then passed the news to Modell’s sons John anDavid during a press conference at the Castle on Friday.
Modell’s career accomplishments as an owner and a televisionpioneer are enough to have many calling for his enshrinement in Canton. Thereis no question that Modell is worthy of such a league-wide honor; however,there is a MAJOR problem on the horizon.
The Cleveland Browns host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
As much love as the city of Baltimore feels for Modell,there is the equivalent in utter distaste for him by most residents of Cleveland.Modell’s reasons for moving the Browns to Baltimore makes no difference to Brownsfans – all they care about is that he left them without a team for three years.
To ask Cleveland fans to hold a moment of silence for Modellis like asking Ravens fans to do the same for Bob Irsay. Sports fans inCleveland have proven their passion for sports during the good and - for themost part - the bad times. If the NFL doesn’t think the reaction will be negativefor Modell, they need only look at how many people acted when LeBron Jamesdecided he was “taking his talents to South Beach.”
You can be all but guaranteed the crowd will voice theirdispleasure for Modell as the fan base is proverbially handed a sledgehammer todrive the final nail in the coffin.
Hopefully the NFL has cleared the decision to host thismoment of silence with the Modell family because embarrassment is all butguaranteed in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Browns franchise is also put into a badsituation. They don’t want to look unprofessional and refuse to honor someone whohad monumental contributions to the game, but they have to be concerned withthe actions inside their stadium, especially from the “Dawg Pound,” residentsof which are notoriously some of the most rabid fans in the game.
People may think honoring Modell in Cleveland won’t be thatbig of a deal but if the response to his death by Browns fans online is anyindication, it’s not going to be pretty. Countless negative, heartless postshave been made on message boards, social media sites etc. with those voicingtheir distaste of Modell in a clear display of “hiding behind your keystrokes.”
Paying tribute to Modell should be about a celebration oflife and in Cleveland it’s all but certain to be a celebration of death. ArthurB. Modell doesn’t deserve that, nor does his family, who has to cope with theloss of a loved one.
There is no doubt that the celebration of Modell’s life willbe positive and emotional at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night. For one ofvery few times in Ravens history, someone may actuallyget a louder ovation during pregame ceremonies than Ray Lewis does.
Here's a counterpoint from Tony Lombardi