NFL drops ball on owners John Steadman's article on the...


January 09, 2000

NFL drops ball on owners

John Steadman's article on the history of pro football owners in Baltimore really shows the passion that Baltimore football fans have. No city has endured more trying owners than Baltimore.

However, the real culprit has always been the NFL itself for letting the "old-boy network" dictate such an exclusive club to begin with.

Bob Irsay should have been reprimanded by the league for his horrendous tactics long before the Colts were stolen by Indianapolis. The NFL should have dealt more severely with Irsay's ranting and raving, firing of coaches on the sidelines, poor treatment of Hall of Famers at the end of their careers, and general lack of interest in Baltimore. If that had happened, maybe he would have been forced to sell the team instead of move it.

The Ravens' Art Modell has sucked every last nickel out of season-ticket holders and still has had to sell the team to pay his debts. This behavior, again, should have been dealt with by the league long before he moved the Browns.

By the way, Steadman failed to mention another football owner in Baltimore who literally locked out his season-ticket holders at the end of his reign -- the Stallions' Jim Speros.

Bob Martindale

Forest Hill

Rhodes firing well deserved

I am sick and tired of hearing Jesse Jackson and his followers claim that every time an African-American is fired from a job, it's because of the color of his skin.

Hey, Jesse: You need to wake up and realize that Ray Rhodes stunk as a head coach in the NFL. He stunk in Philadelphia and he stunk this past season with Green Bay. Truth is, he and his entire staff deserved what they got.

By the way, Pete Carroll (New England) and Mike Ditka (New Orleans) also were fired last week. They stunk, too.

Joe Neuheimer


Ripken is No. 1 in Maryland

It is a sad day when anyone thinks that any other baseball player from Maryland is better than Cal Ripken.

There have been many greats from Maryland -- Babe Ruth, Al Kaline, Lefty Grove and quite a few others. But Ripken played and broke the consecutive-games record because he is truly a great player. He is in very select company, and there are not many players with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits, which he should accomplish early this season.

Ripken's streak was not out of selfishness. If he were not a great player, then his managers would not have penned him into the lineup every day. He has set many other records, but they have been overshadowed by the streak.

Grove may have been a great pitcher, but he couldn't hold a candle to Ripken.

Steve Wall


Eckman deserves his due

One of our city's and Maryland's finest sports sons was the late, great Charley Eckman. He was born in West Baltimore and built a solid reputation as a basketball player, coach, referee, scout and colorful sportscaster. For the longest time, he was "Mr. Basketball."

After service in World War II, Eckman became a professional referee in the NBA. He then went on to coach the Fort Wayne Pistons to three Western Division championships. He even found time in his fabulous career to serve as the chief judge of the Orphan's Court in Anne Arundel County.

John Steadman's list of 10 Baltimore-born sports legends was good, but I found it incomplete. The incomparable Eckman deserved a place in that illustrious group.

Bill Hughes


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