Salute to Jim Brown?
Jim Brown was one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League. His career with the Cleveland Browns started in 1957, and spent his entire career with that team. He always carried the football more than 20 times in each of his games, and he never seemed to get tired or discouraged. In addition, he seemed to be impervious to pain. Whenever he was tackled, he took his own sweet time getting up off the ground. It was as if he was taking a careful inventory, to see if all of his body parts were still intact. There was no real reason for him to hurry, since his teammates would happily wait for him.
He retired from the NFL after playing for only nine years. He was about 29 years old at the time, and most people felt that he would eventually return to the game, but he did not. He was appearing in a movie that was being filmed in the off-season, and scheduling issues would have caused him to be late for the beginning of his team's training season. The reports are that the team gave him an ultimatum him to leave the filming, and report to camp. One thing that we know about Brown is that ultimatums to him don't work. So, he retired and did not do even a single Bret Favre.
He was in a number of movies, and he was the star of some of them. He participated in many Economic, Political, and Civil Rights activities. He started programs designed to steer young people away from criminal activities, and help those who were already incarcerated, or otherwise involved in the justice system. He worked hard to make the world a better place.
I think that he wanted to be an earlier version of President Obama. The world was a much more difficult place then, and he did not have the benefit of a Harvard education. Also, in my opinion, he was proud to the extent of being vain. This vanity and an incredible temper, kept him from reaching many of his goals. They were rumors that he broke a man's arm, because they disagreed on a score in a golfing match. He was arrested for beating up his wife's car with a golf club. The court sentenced him take classes in anger management, but he refused, and chose instead to do 90 days in jail. That seemed to be a much harder choice, but Brown always tried to dance to his own music.
Brown has been invited to attend the Ring of Honor Ceremony, in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 19, 2010. He is to be one of 16 Hall of Famers, whose likenesses will be forever enshrined on the walls of the team's stadium. He has informed them that he will not attend. Brown had been an advisor to Browns owner Randy Lerner, but that relationship was ended by new team President Mike Holgren. I do not know what Brown's financial situation is, but many former stars are put on payrolls as Advisors, Consultants, or Community Relations Organizers. They usually don't do much, if anything, and they are tax deductible charities for their former teams. And speaking of the Browns, if they have been getting any good advice lately, they sure were not using it.
Brown has reached the age of 75 years. 50 years ago, the fans in Cleveland loved him. Today, they love him even more. I hope that his former teammates, fans and friends, both in Los Angeles and Cleveland will get him to change his mind. The trip back there now is one of the best things that could happen to him, or to anyone. Jim, they love you back there, more than you can possibly realize. They are hoping to be able to give you a long standing ovation, and to let you bask in their love. I understand fully that no one can make you do what you do not want to do. However, this time it is different. The people of Cleveland want to see you. They need to see you. In your heart of hearts, you want to attend this ceremony. Not only do you want to go, you need to go! You must go!
The game between the Chiefs and the Browns will be nationally televised. There will be 16 Hall of Famers introduced during the halftime ceremonies. Since you were the greatest star in the history of that franchise, they would introduce you last, and unveil your image in the Ring of Honor. Many of us will be watching with great anticipation. At this point, it is up to you. Please don't let us down.