Former owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, died this week at the age of 87. He was a visionary in the National Football League for many years, and will be remembered by most as a man who did great things for the game.
Following his passing this week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asked that all 32 teams honor Modell’s passing with some sort of tribute during each game during opening weekend.
But as is the case with the only city who will not fondly remember Modell, they will be the same ones who do not honor Modell this weekend.
The new Cleveland Browns are still more or less a newer franchise. Many people have forgotten that fact. That is because the old Browns – the same ones who were owned by Modell for many years – were moved to become the Baltimore Ravens. That team won a Super Bowl, and the city of Cleveland has never forgotten what Modell did when he took away their beloved team.
And you thought those people hated LeBron James?
Modell is, and always will remain, public enemy No. 1 in the city of Cleveland.
Still, the Browns had still planned to honor Modell in some way on Sunday afternoon prior to kickoff against the Philadelphia Eagles. But that will no longer take place.
But you cannot blame the Browns, or the fans. This request to scrap the tribute plans have come from Modell’s stepson, David, who asked Cleveland to be the only team not to make any mention or gesture toward Modell’s passing.
It is not personal. David Modell knows that there could be a more than mixed reaction in Cleveland, and said he did not want that to end up being a top story this weekend. He knew that many fans are still upset, and that the reaction on Sunday would more than likely portray those feelings.
Therefore, the Browns will be the only team who will not honor Modell on Sunday. But it is not because they intentionally ignored what the rest of the league will be doing this weekend.
It is for the betterment of everyone involved.
Bad feelings die hard.
And sometimes not at all.