Word on the street is the NFL is asking every home team this Sunday to honor Art Modell in some way.
I wrote yesterday what I feel is the most appropriate response to this very confusing time for Browns fans – in short, be honest with yourself and deal with it in your own way. I would also add this: try to be respectful.
However, this command from NFL HQ makes that impossible and is out of line.
I am totally against Browns fans booing a moment of silence dedicated to Modell, but if the NFL is to force the action upon them, ignoring the injustice of moving the Browns, which they themselves oversaw, then I am all for it.
As Modell himself said, they would be leaving us no choice.
Okay, here is my idea for how the Browns can do something for Modell during the home opener without starting a riot.
The Browns PR and media staff whip up an “In Memoriam” video montage intended to recognize the passing of various members of the NFL family this past year.
In other words, the same thing they always do at the Oscars:
Jam Modell in the middle of this montage. Don’t end the video with a clip of him. Make it not about him, but about everyone we’ve lost.
Show him briefly and don’t give the fans too much time to react. Juxtapose a clip of him from the ’60s (i.e. when he was still the Browns’ owner, not villain) between other people the fans would not be inclined to boo.
We sadly lost Junior Seau this year, so perhaps the montage could start with him.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in town, and given their family-like connection to members of the Browns’ front office, the montage could close with a tribute to head coach Andy Reid’s son (truly, a more devastating loss than the 87-year-old Modell).
Stay classy, Cleveland. It will be over soon.