Kudos to Dave McKenna for his honest portrayal of the ever-slimy Art Modell (Cheap Seats, 7/26). As a native Clevelander, my bitterness has not subsided since the announcement that the Browns were being stripped away after 50 years in Cleveland.
As the article states, Art Modell is “a great, great actor.” This greedy and selfish man has a forte for conjuring up hateful feelings in entire cities, both small and large alike, and then acting as if he has done nothing wrong. I praise the people of Westminster for their quick turnabout; at least they learned not to trust Art Modell after getting shafted the first time—if only Clevelanders would have been as quick. As for the behavior of the rest of the former Browns, Modell’s money-grubbing attitude must have infected his players. As the leader of the Ravens, he has shown his team that it is all right to screw the fans as long as you still get paid.
These players need to realize that the fans are still the most important part of “their job.” Maybe it is true that they don’t have time to shop in the Main Street stores, but the least they could do is sign autographs for the kids. I, like Modell, also remember the “wonderful situation” in Hiram, Ohio, and the biggest thrill as a kid was having these 6-foot-5 gentle giants walk over to the sidelines to shake your hand and sign their name on your Browns notepad. It was this type of behavior that lead to the “great relationship” between the team and the fans, not telling the fans that you can’t fit them into your schedule.
If Art and the Ravens want to hold on to the salaries they hold so dear, they better realize that they can’t get paid if they don’t fill the stadium seats. And without the fans, this is just not possible.