McManamon: Lerner looks to guarantee team can’t move

The first fear any Browns fan has when talking about the team being sold is that they could be stolen1 from the city again as Art Modell did so many years ago. It was most of our instincts to think that Randy Lerner would look to ensure that the Browns would never move, and according to Pat McManamon, that is the case.

According to the source, the sale is contingent on “a complete and unconditional personal assurance that the team can never be moved from the city of Cleveland before he heard any details of the proposal.”

Now let’s hope that this is a legally binding document with some actual substance. I’d hate to think that the future geography of the Cleveland Browns could be a verbal contract.

[Related: Official Statement from Randy Lerner with Regard to Rumored Browns Sale]

  1. They weren’t moved. They were stolen. Call it what it is. []
  • DontbringLBJback

    Well, maybe Lerner is not as big of a jerk as we thought.

  • Tron

    So this is sounding more like a purchase and less like an investment?

  • Harv 21

    never heard anyone call Lerner a jerk, just incompetent in his role as team owner. No need to get personal.

  • MrCleaveland

    Fear No. 2 is that the new owner will think the Broncos and Ravens and Oregon Ducks uniforms are the coolest things ever, and he will decide to put the Browns in a similar embarrassing costume.

  • Natedawg86

    Rumor is Randy went all in on a poker game because he had pocket rockets, flopped an ace and a pair, but lost on the river to quad 4s.

  • Harv 21

    I wouldn’t parse the words of this little quote too finely. This unnamed source may have been using the words “personal assurance” loosely. It could be they’re discussing a contractual provision (maybe a buy-back option or liquidated damages if attempt to relocate or re-sell within x years). Lerner wouldn’t have trouble finding a buyer, so he certainly has leverage to leave us with something more enforceable than verbal promise. He cares about his father’s legacy and doesn’t want a second abandonment as the last impression.

  • nj0

    Exactly. That’s my initial thought as well. If you’re going with “a complete and unconditional personal assurance” why not go the extra inch and make it contractual?

    Not to be paranoid, but this sounds like the sort of thing you do so you have a defense when the new guy does move the team. “But he promised me he wouldn’t!”

  • Kevin Huyghe

    Yeah I don’t see why he would just “invest” if he has already invested in the Steelers. I would assume he would want to have a full control kind of thing.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Maybe you don’t get out much… I’ve heard Lerner called every name in the book! :) However, I was not attempting to disrespect the man, but he has been jerking Browns fans around for quite some time now. In that sense, he is a jerk. Just sayin.

  • Garry_Owen

    Craig: Re the footnote. In all seriousness, please explain this. I know that people get really passionate about the “stolen” thing, but I’ve never understood. Under no possible legal or logical interpretation can it be considered a “theft,” unless I’m missing or forgetting some key fact. If this is just an emotional response and reaction, fine, I’m okay with that; but if so, then it isn’t at all calling it “what it is.” It’s quite the opposite.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Nothing Lehman Brothers did was illegal either, but where did everyone’s money go?

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, it wasn’t “stolen.”
    The key to your question is “everyone’s money.” It was their money. Legal financial ownership. No applicability to the Browns. Again, if it’s emotional, fine. I cried, too. But nothing was “stolen.”

  • TSR3000

    Hope you’re right. A “personal assurance” and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

  • mgbode

    what about my childhood sports innocence? pretty sure that was taken if not stolen :)

  • Craig Lyndall

    Stolen. I stand by it and won’t be dragged into any kind of technical argument. If it looks, feels, smells and tastes a certain way, you can call it “excrement,” but we all know what it is. :-)

  • Garry_Owen

    That wasn’t “stolen,” either. That was kidnapped, tortured, defiled, mutilated, and murdered, then burried, exhumed, desecrated, and then scatterd to the four corners of the earth. Entirely different animal!

  • Garry_Owen

    A diaper filled with Indian food?
    Check. It’s emotional. Got it.
    “Stolen” it is! (Though it isn’t.)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    See Randy Lerner is looking out for Browns town that’s what this is all about! LoL

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And that animal is a Raven baby – kaw, kaw, kaw or whatever the he!! sound that flying rat makes! 😉

  • Grif_E

    Verbal contracts especially when they are public like this are just as binding as anything written down. Now, it could all break down if the winning bidder wanted to go to court to try and establish how long this verbal agreement would be reasonably believe to be in effect if it wasn’t discussed. If it’s not said you can make all sorts of arguments on why that agreement has expired.

    It’s generally a misconception that something typed up is more legally binding than something scribbled on that document, or verbally discussed during the negotiations. Again, especially in such a public and high level negotiation.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’d love to see some new costumes oh and some scantily clad chicks I mean young ladies on the sidelines too!!!!


    No word on whether the personal assurance was hand-delivered by Carlos Boozer…


    Also, didn’t the guy that bought the Sonics and moved them to OKC say something about how he’d make every effort to keep the team in Seattle? In other words, talk is cheap.

  • nj0

    He did the opposite, telling people in OKC they were buying the team to not keep it in Seattle. He was fined rather heavily by the NBA.

  • nj0

    But it really isn’t public. All we have is a representative of Lerner’s claiming that such an guarantee had to be made to Lerner.

  • nj0

    I’m with you on this one. The whole stolen thing is a little overdramatic imo.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    The point I was trying to make was that Lehman met all their legal obligations to the public, just as Modell did. However, some things are bad enough (though legal) that laws have to be changed to keep it from happening again.

    So while Lehman Brothers didn’t “steal” all that money, it was “thefty” enough that the government made doing that illegal in the future. Just as moving the Browns wasn’t “stealing” at the time, but it was “thefty” enough that the NFL may prohibit it from happening again.

    That’s all I was saying. Sometimes things are wrong and are (morally) criminal before they are (legally) criminal.