Art Modell’s grave waterer to be charged

Modell Browns SI Cover

Belichick and ModellI don’t believe we posted the video here, but I think most Browns fans heard about it. A Browns fan made a deliberate act of going to Art Modell’s grave and emptying out a catheter in order to urinate on Art Modell’s grave. Regardless of how you feel about the sentiment, there’s little debate as to the legality of such actions and Baltimore County authorities plan to take action. According to the Baltimore Sun, the man will be charged with some form of disorderly conduct which is punishable by a maximum sentence of two years and a $500 fine.

I just hope this all goes away quickly. As Deadspin pointed out at the time they posted the video, there’s no better way to make a villain look sympathetic than to overstep the lines of decency. It’s important to try and maintain a spot on the high road. I found myself straddling that line by actively rooting against Modell ever being included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and well short of traveling to his burial place to (ahem) make a statement of any kind.

The big problem with something like this is that it leads to quotes from David Modell that I can’t really disagree with.

“We agree wholeheartedly with the State’s Attorney that folks should have confidence that the final resting place of their loved ones is not defiled,” he said. “We are a country of laws and just because you’re angry doesn’t mean the law no longer applies to you.”

I prefer not to be put in a position where David Modell and I have to agree on much of anything.

[Also see: Josh Gordon has reportedly passed “at least 70 drug tests”]

  • mgbode

    We are peeing on his legacy by keeping him out of the HOF and that is good enough for me.

  • CB Everett

    That might be true, David…but to be fair, technically Art had already “defiled” the place.

  • jimkanicki

    modell is empirically/objectively not HOF worthy.
    it’s not personal.

  • mgbode

    I agree wholeheartedly (except that it is also personal), but with the fanfare around when he was extremely sick along with his death, he would have gotten in if not for Cleveland IMO.

  • humboldt

    I would not have done what the guy did, but this is so ridiculously punitive to me. What ISIS is doing to archaeological sites in Iraq is “defiling” and “desecrating”. This guy was just making a symbolic statement and not materially harming anything in any way. David Modell was the one who made this an issue in the media last week, and he looks petty and vindictive, as per usual.

  • Harv 21

    Detest Modell but hope a sympathetic Baltimore judge gives him the max fine. Like funerals, cemeteries are not just for the dead. Imagine if it was done on the grave of your loved one.

    There’s a reason we all winced when we heard about it. The gesture, and the guy who did it, are despicable.

  • Harv 21

    “materially harming”? ISIS as our standard? C’mon.

  • humboldt

    It was a symbolic act, not a materially harmful one. It could be considered indecent or undignified, but it in no way damaged or defaced the monument. What good does a max fine or jail time do here except inflict unnecessary harm on the life of a guy who obviously has some issues to begin with?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Great headline!

  • Harv 21

    Don’t get your standard “materially harmful” standard and don’t think it’s proper. Would you rather have your father’s headstone “materially altered” with a sledgehammer, or have someone urinate upon his grave? What a max sentence certainly does is dissuade others from similar stunts. Not hard to imagine that cemetery becoming a must-see tourist attraction for similar Clevelanders with “issues.” There are special laws about grave desecration for a reason. That sensitivity is the very reason Moron did this.

    And, btw, he did more than a small private act. He made a plan to film it, glorify it on YouTube, making sure the family’s humiliation would be magnified as far as YouTube travels. Yes he definitely has issues, ones I think best resolved with some justice system therapy.

  • nj0

    Posterity will ne’er survey
    A nobler scene than this
    Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
    Stop, traveller, and piss.

  • mgbode

    well, David Modell had a choice. he could either pursue punishment for the dumb individual who put his face on youtube committing a crime. or, he could open the door for others to do the same.

    punishments are often as much about deterrent for others as they are for punishing the perpetrator themselves.

  • mgbode

    No doubt. Anyone who knowingly wears a Raven’s jersey should be fined. Maximum fine if the person is a Brown’s fan wearing it who did not lose a bet.

  • humboldt

    Physical damage of a gravestone with a sledgehammer means permanently defacing an object. Alternatively, urinating on a grave is purely symbolic – it only becomes “damaging” if we metaphorically allow it to. Now, humans are symbolic creatures and therefore both acts are potentially hurtful. But I find the act of inflicting material damage to an object like a gravestone/tomb much more objectionable than a symbolic form of protest in the general vicinity. If ISIS members were urinating on objects of antiquity I don’t think it would make me quite as sad and indignant as seeing them blow up thousand year-old holy shrines.

    I think you are also making a “slippery slope” assumption that countenancing this act would engender copycat crimes. But the thing about slippery slope arguments is that they rarely come to fruition. In truth, I think taking the high road, ignoring this guy’s feeble attempt to “score one against Modell”, and letting all the armchair moralists condemn his actions and sway public opinion would have been the most effective way to diffuse any future copy cat crimes. Instead, this guy is facing a totally excessive 2-year jail sentence and a hefty fine.

    My only hope is that this will get plea bargained down to a minimal fine/sentence, or dismissed entirely (if that is possible).

  • nj0

    I’m trying to formulate a position where this guy is a dink but what he did is also pretty funny.

  • humboldt

    His monologue was hysterical, just so earnest and righteously indignant. I love that he led with a point about Modell failing to get rid of Brownie – as if that, more than the move of the team, is what has bothered him most throughout the decades.

    The line “F*ck you, you get over it” is also a meme waiting to happen.

  • MrCleaveland

    You could unload a manure spreader on Modell’s grave and it wouldn’t make him look sympathetic.

  • nj0

    Childish, petty, stupid, vindictive? Yes. But I guess I just see this as ultimately harmless. And I really find the moralizing I’ve heard from some friends a bit off-putting.

    Maybe I’m just not a big “respect the dead” guy. Guess I’ve always had an issue with “the sacred”. Once I’m gone, pee away. Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.

  • nj0

    I would not care if someone peed on my father’s grave.
    Not one iota.

    Serious question time: most people would?

  • saggy

    i don’t find this funny. i find it stupid.
    Our jails are overcrowded as it is. We should be jailing violent criminals.
    Hefty fine and community service should be the punishment.

    And he should be banned from Ravens and Browns stadiums, whatever the heck their real names are.

  • humboldt

    It might also make the grass greener around his grave, which would defeat the purpose

  • Bob

    If it were done on my loved one…….well, the person in question would still be a rotting stew of flesh in sealed box (or slurry if that individual is in one of those hermetically sealed coffins). I don’t see how anything would be different.

  • Bob

    “Symbols are best left to the symbol minded” -George Carlin

  • Bob

    I’m amazed I still haven’t seen any public restrooms (esp bars) that have Modell’s face on their urinals. Bar owners…..get on this.

  • mgbode

    sounds like an Irish wake