August 28, 2017

God Bless Jim Brown

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Let’s be clear here: I have not always been Jim Brown’s biggest fan.

His decision to retire before the 1966 season was rash and related to a movie career which could have waited a year or two (to be fair, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, perhaps the worst NFL owner in history, brought things to a head when he didn’t have to, so the blame is clearly 50-50.)

His post-football life had some domestic violence issues which would have caused him far more troubles in today’s legal environment, and from all appearances justifiably so.

All of that said, Brown appears to have tried to live an exemplary life during the past 15 years, and has served the team as its executive advisor and special adviser since 2008.

There is no point in disputing the fact that he was and remains the greatest NFL running back ever, that he has a slew of records which haven’t been broken in the 52 years since he retired, and that many of them probably won’t be broken for many, many years — if ever.

Obviously, he should command the respect of all NFL players when he says, of players who won’t respect the National Anthem during its playing, “Do not disrespect your country, do not disrespect the flag.”

At least we know that the Browns’ players respect him:

Five days before the Browns Saturday night preseason tilt against the Buccaneers, twelve Browns players protested the two-minute playing of the national anthem. Fast-forward five days, to yesterday, and zero Browns players protested the national anthem. What do all these numbers add up to?

Don’t mess with Jim Brown, that’s what they add up to.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Brown addressed the team and told them, “Do not disrespect your country, do not disrespect the flag.”

From my perspective, Jim Brown’s move, and the Browns players’ reactions, saved the NFL season. The previous week’s antics by members of a team which went 1-15 last year caused me to decide to try to not watch a single minute of a single game this year. I suspect I was not alone in that assessment. I’m not a glued-to-the-tube fan, but at least I’ll be paying attention and watching occasional games now.

Now it’s not as if there aren’t still several spoiled-brat, historically ignorant players present on other teams throughout the league, but the Browns players’ move threatened to grow into a “they’ve completely lost their minds” tipping point which was going to make these antics regular, high-participation events throughout the league — maybe even to the point where those NOT participating were going to start feeling intense pressure to conform.

I hope I’m right that Jim Brown appears to have kept the problem from getting out of control. He had Hall of Fame moves as a player. This week, he showed that he still has some.

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