SBD/6/Franchises

BROWNS TO BALTIMORE III: CLEVELAND WILL FIGHT BACK

     Cleveland Mayor Michael White will hold his own press
conference in Baltimore today.  Arriving last night with a
delegation from the city, White said, "It is not a fait accompli
that this move will ever take place" (Shapiro & Babington,
WASHINGTON POST, 11/6).  On Wednesday, White is expected to
submit his own financial package to Modell, although Cleveland
officials acknowledge they can't match Baltimore's offer.
Cuyahoga County voters go to the polls tomorrow to consider a
referendum on extending a sin tax to pay for Cleveland Stadium
renovations.  White, on Saturday:  "It will be up to every
citizen in this community to reject this cruel hoax being
perpetrated by Baltimore and some of the NFL leaders" (Michael
James, Baltimore SUN, 11/5).  More from White:  "We want to send
a very, very clear message:  They are our Cleveland Browns and
keep your hands off them" (David Adams, Akron BEACON JOURNAL,
11/5).  Fred Nance, White's chief counsel, said Cleveland would
not be able to match the reported $30M in annual profit Modell
would get in Baltimore.  White's proposal is designed to make the
Browns "competitive" financially with other NFL teams, with Nance
saying, "Our goal is not to get them in the top two, three, four
in the league.  Our goal is to get them in the top third"
(Stephen Koff, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/5).
     SIN TAX VOTE:  Polls conducted by backers of the tax report
support was up to 68% on Friday, up 5% from the previous day
(WASHINGTON POST, 11/5).  But BEACON JOURNAL columnist Terry
Pluto notes financing for renovations is "just a shell game"
(Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/5).
     GRIES BACKS OUT:  Browns minority partner Robert Gries said
he would sell his 43% stake in the team rather than be part of a
move to Baltimore (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/5).  Will McDonough
reports Modell will buy out Gries with his partner Al Lerner,
once part of a bid to get Baltimore an expansion franchise
(BOSTON GLOBE, 11/5).
     IN HIS OWN WORDS:  Modell held an interview Friday, picked
up by the PLAIN DEALER, BEACON JOURNAL and in Sunday's Baltimore
SUN.  On charges he didn't give Cleveland a chance to respond:
"I've been waiting six years for something to happen, and if
there's something in the 11th hour where a rabbit can be pulled
out of a hat, then I'll know and I'll change my tune.  But right
now, I see nothing on the horizon" (Mult., 11/4-5).  Modell
missed the Browns' home game yesterday, his first home absence in
35 years.  There were several bomb and death threats and the game
was played amid heightened security.  One source said Modell will
fly to FL after today's Baltimore news conference.  He has no
plans to attend any of Cleveland's remaining home games
(Baltimore SUN, 11/6).  Modell, in an interview with Ohio's WJW
radio:  "This is the most agonizing, most anguishing, emotionally
traumatic experience of my life.  I'm not like some other owners
moving to make more money. I'm moving to survive" ("Sports
Tonight," CNN, 11/4).
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