Cleveland may be losing its football team, but it has fared better than the owner, who has lost his reputation.
JIM SULLIVAN, HERNDON, VA.
The Baltimore Browns
It was a sad day for Cleveland and the NFL when owner Art Modell announced that he was moving the Browns to Baltimore (Down...and Out, Nov. 13). Modell claims that he waited six years for a package from the city of Cleveland that would provide him with a better place to play. What he conveniently forgets is that in 1990 the city offered him a stadium that would house both the Browns and the Indians, to be built in downtown Cleveland as part of the Gateway sports complex. Modell rejected this plan, saying he wanted to remain at lakefront Municipal Stadium and renovate it. This year, while the city continued to discuss options that would have enabled Cleveland to keep the Browns, Modell called a halt to all talks regarding the future of the Browns until the end of the season. Little did we suspect he was having secret meetings in Baltimore—this after claiming in 1994 that the Browns would stay in Cleveland as long as his family owned the team.
MICHAEL L. YEH, Westlake, Ohio
Since NFL owners can now toss cities aside as they please, it is time for the fans and media to stop referring to pro teams by their city affiliation. Art Modell has shown us that the support of the city and fans means nothing to team owners. As Bob Irsay said when he moved the Colts to Indianapolis, "It's not your ball team, it's not their ball team. It's my family's ball team." Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams has taken the proper course. When his Nashville deal is sealed, he plans to rename his team the Cherokees.
MARK S. COWANS, Foster City, Calif.
The Bolt-to-More Browns' move makes it clear that money isn't everything, it's the only thing.
MARTY STEVENSON, Strongsville, Ohio
Cleveland Brown followers should know that history has a tendency to repeat itself, in the world of sports as elsewhere. Lest we forget, another Brown franchise sought greater opportunities in Baltimore: The St. Louis Browns in 1953 left their home city of 51 years to become the Baltimore Orioles.
Modell's claim of poverty rings hollow. As the head of the Stadium Corporation, which handles parking and concessions at Cleveland Stadium, from 1974 until '82, when his inept management forced him to sell the concessions to another firm, Art Modell received all the concession and parking profits not only for the Browns but also for the stadium's biggest tenant, the Cleveland Indians. The NFL should have told Modell that since he cannot handle the business end of a pro football team, he should sell the Browns to a local buyer who can.
JEFF HEBEBRAND, Garfield Heights, Ohio
The U.S. Olympic Committee ( USOC) is not the organization planning next year's Olympic torch relay, which you criticized because the route doesn't pass close enough to the Oklahoma birthplace of Jim Thorpe, the man the relay honors (SCORECARD, Nov. 27). The run is being staged by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games ( ACOG), the organizer of the '96 Summer Olympics. The USOC enjoys a close relationship with the Thorpe family and has initiated several programs for Native American athletes in the last two years.
Public Information and Media Relations, USOC
Your SCORECARD item veered off course. The torch relay will travel 15,000 miles through 42 states in 84 days, the largest relay in the history of the Olympics. The route is designed to bring the flame within a two-hour drive of 90% of the U.S. population. The ACOG, not the USOC, has carefully charted a 321-mile course through Oklahoma to share the flame with as many people as possible. While in the state, the flame will rightfully pause to honor Jim Thorpe, and people from Prague, the closest town to Thorpe's birthplace, will participate in a ceremony.
1996 Olympic Torch Relay, ACOG