The True Story Behind His Retirement
Please enjoy this rare opportunity to experience the character of a special man. Jim Brown just might be the true renaissance man. In a prior era owners ruled absolute over each player's destiny and racial discrimination permeated the social air. Amid this atmosphere Mr. Brown's inner strength, intelligence, humility, understanding and forgiveness continued to shine through another unfortunate cloud that seems to often gather over men of his stature.
Art Modell's Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CLEVELAND, OHIO - The following statement is issued by Arthur B. Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, regarding the status of fullback Jim Brown:
"No veteran Browns" player has been granted or will be given permission to report late to our training camp at Hiram College- and this includes Jim Brown. Should Jim fail to report to Hiram at check-in time deadline, which is Sunday, July 17, then I will have no alternative to suspend him without pay.
"I recognize the complex problems of the motion picture business, having spent several years in the industry. However, in all fairness to everyone connected with the Browns - the coaching staff, the players and most important of all, our many faithful fans - I feel compelled to say that I will have to take such action should Jim be absent on July 17.
"Lest anyone get the impression that suspension would be a token slap on the wrist, since the salaries of most professional athletes do not go into effect until the start of the regular season, I point out that we have several players, Jim included, who are paid on a 12-month basis.
"I am certain that Jim and all of our players are aware that under terms of their contracts with us they are expected to participate in all pre-season practice sessions and games.
"I have been asked what my attitude would be if Jim Brown fails to report to Hiram next month but returns to the United States in September and decides that he wants to play football.
"Our coaching staff cannot wait until such a late date to formulate our offensive plans for the 1966 season. If Jim were to show up in September, we would have to make an appraisal as to his physical condition, his ability to pick up quickly the new offense being prepared for the season plus the general personnel situation of our Club."
Jim Brown's Response
London July 9,1966
Mr. ARTHUR MODELL
Cleveland, Ohio USA
12 Portman Street,
LONDON, W. 1
July 5, 1966
I am writing to inform you that in the next few days I will be announcing my retirement from Football. This decision is final and is made only because of the future that I desire for myself, my family, and if not to sound corney my race. I am very sorry that I did not have the information to give you at some earlier date, for one of my great concerns was to try in every way to work things out so that I could play an additional year.
I was very sorry to see you make the statements that you did, because it was not a victory for you or I but for the newspaper men. Fortunately, I seem to have a little more faith in you than you have in me. I honestly like you and will be willing to help you in anyway I can, but I feel you must realize that both of us are men and that my manhood is just as important to me as yours is to you.
It was indicated in the papers out of Cleveland that you tried to reach me by phone. Well, I hope you realize that when I am in my apartment I never refuse to answer my phone. The only reason that I did not contact you before I knew the completion date of the movie, is that the date was the one important factor. You must realize that your organization will make money and will remain successful whether I am there or not. The Cleveland Browns' are an Institution that will stand for a long, long time.
I am taking on a few projects that are very interesting to me. I have many problems to solve at this time and I am sure you know a lot of them, so if we weigh the situation properly the 'Browns' have really nothing to lose, but Jim Brown has a lot to lose. I am taking it for granted that I have your understanding and best wishes, for in my public approach to this matter this will be the attitude that will prevail.
The business matters that we will have to work out we could do when I return to Cleveland. I will give you any assistance I can and hope your operation will be a success. You know the areas that I can be helpful and even if you do no ask this help my attitude will be one that I will do only the things that will contribute to the success of the 'Cleveland Browns.'