How the most hated man in Cleveland history is keeping Browns from leaving

Art Modell is a hated man in Cleveland but his past is helping Cleveland keep their team
Cleveland Browns
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Cleveland boasts a fan base full of passionate sports lovers, making it a great city for any franchise. That's why the NFL was willing to leave the history behind when the Cleveland Browns moved out of the city following the 1995 season. It's also why they were back with a franchise team in 1999.

Now in 2024, the Browns are facing a familiar situation. Their current ownership group — Jimmy and Dee Haslam — are trying to negotiate a deal for a new stadium. They have plans to either renovate the existing Cleveland Browns Stadium on Lake Erie or potentially build a dome elsewhere. Brook Park, near the airport, seems to be the best spot since the Haslams have the option to purchase 176 acres of land there.

However, the Browns might not be able to leave Cleveland thanks to the most hated man in the history of the city — Art Modell.

Modell was the owner who put the team in financial ruin during the 1990s and then relocated them to Baltimore. After he broke the hearts of millions, there was a law written by Dennis Kucinich, a senator in the 1990s — and he's thrilled to see the city remind ownership of this law during these negotiations.

Aptly named 'the Art Modell law', this piece of legislation basically says the owners of the franchise that uses a tax-supported facility have to put them up for sale before moving them out of the area. The city of Cleveland has been footing part of the bill for the stadium and they don't plan to let the team leave — even if it's just to Brook Park.

The Browns lease runs through 2028 so there's plenty of time to get the plans in roder. But it's clear that the team won't leave downtown easily, thanks to Art Modell.

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