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CLEVELAND SITUATION GETS FULL AIRING ON "MONDAY NIGHT"
Published November 14, 1995
With the soon-to-be Baltimore Browns facing the rival Steelers on ABC's "Monday Night Football" last night, the controversy surrounding the team's exit from Cleveland and the ramifications for the league was a primary topic for Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford. Gifford touched on the subject during the opening, but Michaels led a full discussion during the second quarter. Browns Owner Art Modell did not attend, but Michaels reported on a phone conversation held with Modell earlier in the day. Modell's main points (displayed on-screen): 1) "We've continuously been stone-walled and stalled by government officials." 2) "I'm not moving to make more money, I'm looking not to go into bankruptcy." 3) "It's been the most agonizing decision in my professional life." Dierdorf, on NFL revenue-sharing: "In the old days, what made this league strong was that you were only as strong as the weakest member of this league. Right now, I'm afraid there's a mentality that's more geared toward 'I'm out for myself' than 'I am for the league as a whole' -- and that has got to change." He added the move "has shocked, not just the fans of Cleveland, this has shocked NFL fans across the country" (ABC, 11/13). THIS MEANS "WAR": A pre-game interview with Cleveland Mayor Michael White was shown during the third quarter. White, clarifiying his "it will be war" statement: "It means that we're going to be fighting the purported move of the Cleveland Browns on all fronts. We've already filed in court. We're now preparing our submission to the NFL. We're going to Washington tomorrow" (ABC, 11/13). NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue met with OH's Senators yesterday on legislation aimed at controlling franchise moves. Tagliabue said Sen. John Glenn's proposal that team names should stay behind is "definitely an idea that should be considered" (Brad Snyder, Baltimore SUN, 11/14). WHAT TO DO? In Green Bay over the weekend, Tagliabue said of possible legal action, "I don't know yet how we're going to handle this." Dale Hofmann notes Tagliabue did hint at changing revenue-sharing with the union to give owners more money to fix stadiums. Hofmann: "This sounds like the baseball approach of using the players' money to solve the owners' problems, and we all know how that's working out" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/14). JONES UPDATE: SI's Peter King reports to "look for an out- of-court settlement by year's end" on the suit between the Cowboys' Jerry Jones and the league. King: "Jones would get something he desparately wants -- control of the Cowboy logo. And the league would get to share all of his merchandising revenue, probably in a split like the 60-40 way ticket money is shared" ("MNF," ABC, 11/13).