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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Hall's semifinalists do not include Modell

By Pat McManamon

The Hall of Fame released its list of 25 semifinalists for this year’s class, and one Cleveland Browns-related name is not on the list.

Art Modell was a finalist a year ago.

He did not reach the semifinals this year.

Art Modell
Art Modell bought the Cleveland Browns in 1961.
There was some general thinking among Hall voters that the vote in January was Modell’s last, best chance. His Ravens were in the Super Bowl, he died during the year and emotions were high in his favor.

He did not make it past the first vote.

There are many good, wise and reasoned folks who believe Modell belongs in Canton. There are many good, wise and reasoned folks who believe he doesn't. There are many incredibly emotional people on both sides.

The arguments in favor or Modell revolve around his making Ozzie Newsome the first African-American to run a team, and around his work with TV.

The negatives go to the fact he moved the Browns, and the way he did it.

It’s really amazing, but the intensity of the feelings in the two cities remains nearly as strong as when the move was first announced almost 20 years ago.

The Browns originally planned to recognize Modell’s death during a home game, but backed away when the emotions of the fans became evident.

Fans in Baltimore feel it’s a farce Modell is not in the Hall of Fame.

Fans in Cleveland would probably form a human barricade at the front door to keep his bust out.

The one thing that is known is the Hall conducts a very fair and open selection process. No other Hall of Fame releases lists of semifinalists and finalists, or is as transparent about its process as Canton; most other Halls choose inductees based on one vote. The Hall asks only for confidentiality in its final vote.

In January, Modell was eliminated in the first round of voting.

Whether folks feel his time has passed, or whether the competition is strong is up for debate.

A long list of folks could complain about not being in the Hall, or the time they waited to be chosen.

What isn't debatable is that the process is fair.

Modell’s candidacy and chances ride on his merits.