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Words to Bob Costas

The situation here in Cleveland has focused national attention on the issue of franchise free agency in the NFL. The league itself is certainly not blameless in all this and those owners with consciouses know that the worst of these situations border on extortion. And if it doesn't stop, the league's credibility will be shot. But for now, let's consider Art Modell. There's no doubt he's in debt. There's also no doubt that most of this is his fault. Remember, he bought this franchise for $4 million in the early 60's. It's now worth at least $160 million. He owned it through all the NFL's boom days of the 70's and 80's. And even in today's changed economic climate, the salary cap is $37 million, while each NFL team is guaranteed $38 million a year from network television alone. That's before they sell a single ticket or a bag of peanuts. Who protects the interests of fans if owners can't succeed, or claim they can't succeed under circumstances as favorable as that. Those who know Art Modell believe him to be a decent man. Over the yeas he has done many good and selfless things for this city. But all of that has been washed away in one monumentally ill-considered act. If Modell felt he could get out from under, if he felt unappreciated by the city of Cleveland, the only honorable way out was to sell the team to local interests. Instead, in a fit of peccant desperation, a good man made a terrible mistake. Now for Art Modell, the final sad irony is this. He grew up in Brooklyn. He must remember the feelings of heartbreak and betrayal when the Dodgers were taken away. And now, Art Modell, a guy from Brooklyn, has become his sport and his generation's Walter O'Malley."
...Bob Costas, NFL on NBC, January 17, 1995

How about this on the Ratbirds opening game

"Even amid the excitement here, there is reason to be unmoved. Which is how the Cleveland Browns should have remained...And all the cheering here today, much of it from the same people who cried when the same thing was done to them, can't change that."
...NBC's Bob Costas, on the Ravens inaugural game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, NFL on NBC, Sept. 1, 1996.