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Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Take your pick recap: LeBron vs. Modell

By James Walker
ESPN.com

This week's "Take your pick" in the AFC North focused on the city of Cleveland. We asked who is northeastern Ohio's most disliked sports figure: LeBron James or Art Modell?

Here is a sample of responses from our AFC North inbox:

It's Modell!

Ryan B from Mansfield, OH, writes: I'd pick good ol' Art as public enemy No. 1 still. Once the fresh emotion of LeBron's departure settles, most will see it this way. Art killed pro football in Cleveland. Took our Browns away and won a Super Bowl as the Ravens. That was supposed to be Cleveland's moment and he took that away. LeBron hasn't killed basketball in Cleveland, he just set it back (albeit in a big way). LeBron exercised his right to leave, Art ripped the team away from the city.

Matt Winslow from Mendo, CA, writes: Definitely Modell. Lebron is just one player, and while he ripped out our hearts on national television, Modell took away our Browns. The team will beat the individual every time.

Dave Sharron from Cleveland writes: LeBron only achieved "Modell in Training" status. He had every right to leave via free-agency. He just showed a complete lack of class in the method of delivering the message and his total lack of gratitude to the CAVS fan base. He gets spoiled rich kid points. But Modell left with an entire franchise and earned the right to be known as "the most hated man in Northeast Ohio Sports".....Forever!

Michael Jones from Cleveland writes: Not even a close call. The morning after LeBron left, the city could start moving on, and can still go see the Cavs play. The morning after Modell left, there was no more Browns, and no more Football in Cleveland. Make no mistake, Cleveland is a FOOTBALL town.

Pat from Cleveland writes: Without a question, Art Modell is still the most hated man in Cleveland. He took an entire team away from us, while Lebron has left us with a group of team players. This city has always been the browns-town, and now it's more evident than ever before.

Jeremy from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Model is worse. If LeBron apologizes to Cleveland in a few years and says he wants to finish what he started there, everyone will welcome him back with open arms and let him come back to bring the city a championship. Modell can never come close to reversing what he took from the city. His actions will never be made good in Cleveland.

Stevo from Columbus, Ohio, writes: LeBron James removed himself from Cleveland, not the entire team. As much as it hurts, LeBron is not the villain Modell is. Life will continue in Cleveland because the team still exists. Besides, it's a football town anyway.

It's Bron Bron!

Justin from DC/Cleveland writes: LeBron. Modell stole the Browns away from us and fired Paul Brown, but he did so without humiliating us. Art never got on national television and ripped our hearts out. He just did it and moved on. LeBron dragged us through a process that was only self-serving, just to announce that he planned on going to Miami (seemingly the whole time).

M. Every from Longview, TX, writes: I would pick LeBron. While Art took something that was beloved, the city had pushed him into a position where he had no other choice. I resent Art for the timing of the decision and announcement, one day before a vote to approve monies for a new stadium, but I understand his motives. LeBron, on the other hand, made a mockery of the city and the NBA free-agency process. This was one of our own giving us the finger on national television, with no real reason for leaving.

Ari from Portland, OR, writes: Hopefully Lebron takes the crown for most hated. As a huge Ravens fan I'm a little biased, but Mr. Modell did give Cleveland a NFL championship and only moved over stadium issues. He didn't let up in the playoffs and crush most of Ohio's hearts in a one-hour special of himself. I just hope this takes the edge off Mr. Modell.

Jared from Denver, CO, writes: Not a Cleveland fan, but I do feel bad for them. From the outside looking in it looks like Modell just made a smart business move that happened to hurt a lot of Clevelanders. LeBron on the other hand strung it out and put it on an hour long TV special that he was ripping out the heart of his hometown...Since it happened I haven't talked to one person who's on the LeBron bandwagon after what he did and the way he did it.

AFC North final say

James Walker: An overwhelming amount -- probably in the range of 75 percent -- felt Art Modell remains the most disliked sports figure in Cleveland. Modell taking the Browns out of Cleveland is a very deep cut, and it's still being felt in northeastern Ohio because the Browns haven't done anything of significance since. Although LeBron James left town more recently and in a much more high-profile way, the Browns remain the biggest game in town. So when debating a football issue against a basketball issue in Cleveland, it's usually smart to side with football.

If you have any additional "Take your pick" ideas, send them to our AFC North inbox.