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CLEVELAND AREA BUSINESSES CUT THEIR TIES TO THE BROWNS
Published November 10, 1995
McDonald's Restaurants of Northeast Ohio, which represents the owners and operators of 257 area McDonald's restaurants, has asked Browns Owner Art Modell to remove all McDonald's signs from Cleveland Stadium. The company is also airing an open letter of protest on 55 local radio stations. Spokesperson William Stern said a petition will be posted in all of the group's restaurants asking the league to leave the name "Browns" in Cleveland. Cleveland's Rapid Transit Authority also pulled its $50,000 ad campaign, oining pharmacy chain Revco and the Ohio Lottery. The Lottery's Browns ad budget was $350,000. Also, Papa John's is looking for a way to get out of its commitment to advertise on Browns' radio broadcasts, and WOIO-TV will pull its three Browns- related programs (Mary Ethridge, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/10). Coors, which ran a retail sweepstakes, sponsored give-aways and advertised with the Browns, will seek to identify "the next best alternatives" in the market (Becky Yerak, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/9). DON'T GIVE UP THE FIGHT: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust, business rights and competition has scheduled a hearing for November 29 on the Browns' move (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/10). OH Sen. John Glenn said he will file the "Fans Rights Act," which would require any team looking to move to give the hometown 120 days notice so the community could prepare a counter-offer. Glenn's bill would also add a "limited exemption" to antitrust law so the NFL could enforce its guidelines for allowing teams to move (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/9). Cleveland Mayor Michael White said they had uncovered signs that Modell planned to move the team to Baltimore, perhaps as early as '84. White has asked when the name "Baltimore Browns" was incorporated (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/10). THE VOTE: Yesterday's PLAIN DEALER indicates Bills Owner Ralph Wilson and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft have reconsidered their initial opposition, and will vote to approve (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/9). Wilson: "We're killing ourselves. ... You think human nature is any different in the NFL than in baseball" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/10). Modell, in this week's SI: "When I lay out my losses and my lack of support from the city, they'll see I have a far greater justification for moving than any team that's tried to move in the NFL. They'd be insane to vote against me" (Peter King, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 11/13 issue). "Inside the NFL's" Gary Myers said, while owners are unhappy with the move, Modell was "very persuasive ... to the point that a few owners told me they went into that meeting thinking they were going to vote against the move, but came out actually feeling sorry for Modell" (HBO, 11/9).