The death of Art Modell is national news, but it’s especially big news in Cleveland and Baltimore.
Both of those cities host NFL games on Opening Weekend. Based on past precedent, there could be a leaguewide moment of silence observed in Modell’s memory before kickoffs Sunday and Monday.
In Baltimore, obviously, there will be some kind of full tribute. In Cleveland, the prudent plan would be to do nothing.
This is not to dive into the debate on Modell’s eventual Hall of Fame candidacy, what’s right and wrong when it comes to social media reaction to Modell’s death or even what Modell’s legacy is. This is just to offer a bit of advice to the Browns front office, a group that hasn’t shown it specializes in what the people of Cleveland love and appreciate.
The Browns should absolutely not observe a moment of silence in Modell’s memory before Sunday’s game with the Eagles.
It would not end well.
Regardless of what else Modell did, he moved the team. He then won a Super Bowl with his new team. Browns fans will never forget that. In most cases, those feelings will never change.
The Browns attempting to hold a moment of silence would only open the door for fans to interrupt it, make the wrong kind of national news or make it a spectacle. There’s just nothing the Browns or Browns fans would gain from that happening.
There’s nothing the NFL would lose, either, from allowing Browns Stadium to sit it out. It wouldn’t change Modell’s leaguewide legacy or the respect NFL folks — past and present — have for Modell. It would simply be the smart thing to do.
Cleveland can move on. Eventually, the Browns will be good again. Really, it’s true.
Asking Browns fans to participate in any kind of tribute to the man who moved the original team just isn’t right.
The NFL and the Browns organization should take note.