Earlier this year, the Cleveland Browns decided to part ways with Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who most recently served as a member of the team’s senior management.
Brown had kept quiet about the situation in Cleveland, alluding vaguely to “Pandora’s box” but not opening it. Yet.
That could be changing. According to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Brown has sent a letter to the Browns explaining that — as reported and expected — he won’t be attending the September 19 Ring of Honor induction. In the letter, per Grossi, “Brown states that while he had no formal contract as executive advisor
with the Browns, he believes his agreement with owner Randy Lerner was
violated because a clause in it stated he would answer to no one but
But a contract is an agreement. So either Brown had an “agreement” or he didn’t. It sounds like at most he had a legally unenforceable understanding as to what his role would be and, more importantly, who he would be reporting to.
Brown contends that he was offered $100,000 per year to be “a greeter . . . a mascot . . . a person that would represent special events by his physical presence,” and that he declined. From that it could be inferred that his prior agreement/arrangement entailed much more money — and much more substantive duties.
Still, it doesn’t appear that Brown plans to demand a settlement or to file suit. Instead, the main purpose of the letter seems to be the communication of his decision not to attend the September 19 event.
“I don’t have any trophies in my home on display,” Brown writes. “I don’t claim to be
the best at anything, and I emphatically do not need validation from any
man, so I will not participate in your Ring of Honor.”
We respect Brown’s position. But shouldn’t he also be asking the Browns not to include him in the Ring of Honor at all? Even if he doesn’t show up, he’ll have permanent validation at Cleveland Browns Stadium via the presence of his name there.
If he doesn’t want it, he needs to say so. And if he doesn’t say so, we’ll assume he wants it.