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HoF Voters Explain Their Monk Votes

Since people are still blogging about Art Monk (Mister Irrelevant, The Big Lead, Hogs Haven, Cincy Jungle, Politics and Pigskins, The Curly R, and some guy named Dan Joe Taylor, among others) I figured I should wring one more post out of this puppy. And it's a good one.

Friends, nothing in life is black and white. (Lucian Perkins - The Washington Post)

Turns out some HoF voters are taking to the interwebs to defend themselves. And in doing so, in the grand tradition of the interwebs, they're sort of making themselves look stupid. And bear in mind that I have no particular allegiance to the Redskins, and especially not to Art Monk, having grown up around Buffalo in the early '90s, if you get my drift (7 catches, 113 yards).

John McClain from the Houston Chronicle, or at least someone pretending to be John McClain, or an alien with access to his blog, writes this, which makes me want to go home and start surfing the help-wanted ads for jobs in a less disreputable profession. Like, lobbyist, maybe. Or all-star game groupie:

....I grew up a Cowboys fan in Waco. I learned at an early age what Redskins fans were really like: the worst of the worst. Good for absolutely nothing. They can't be trusted. They were so ignorant they couldn't spell "class" if you spotted them the "c-l-a-s." The class and dignity that Cowboys fans always showed was foreign to Redskins fans. I mean, Richard Nixon was a Redskins fans.

Now, I'm getting bombarded with e-mails from the kind of Redskins fans that Tex Schramm always warned us about.

By the way, for the Redskins fans who can read and those whose parents are reading this to them: I believe Monk deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I've voted for him just about every year, unless I thought there was someone else more deserving. And I'll still vote for him because he deserves it. But I may not vote for him next year because I can already tell you I'm voting for Darrell Green, who'll be in his first year of eligibility.

Hopefully, Green and Monk will be elected the next two years. Then, if I were a Redskins fans (which I would certainly never be because I don't wear a dress and a hog snout) I'd start a profanity-filled campaign to get one of my offensive linemen in the Hall of Fame. The Redskins had one of the greatest lines in history, and they won three Super Bowl rings, and not one is enshrined in Canton.

Now, roll around in some slop and think about that one!

Ugh. I guess he was "joking." In the same way that David Spade often is put on the television to tell "jokes." But golly, if those are our voters, I'd rather not be elected.

McClain writes two other interesting things. This:

I was excited to see Irvin get in. I've voted for him each year. No matter what you think about him as a broadcaster or what he did off the field when he played, the only thing we can consider is what happens between the white lines. Irvin was a great receiver and a team leader on a three-time Super Bowl champion.

Rick Gosselin, the NFL writer for the Dallas Morning News, has done a terrific job the last two years, helping three Cowboys be elected. Before last year, the Cowboys had only five of their former players in the Hall of Fame. On Saturday, he had help from Charean Williams and Jarrett Bell of USA Today, both of whom spoke on Irvin's behalf.

And this:

Memo to irate Art Monk fans:

Has it occurred to you that 30 of the 40 voters could have voted for Monk, and yet you continue to fire off nasty e-mails to everyone? Has it occurred to you that all those nasty e-mails insulting the intelligence of the committee just might make some of the pro-Monk crowd switch their votes? I'm not saying it will, but have you thought that you might actually be doing Monk damage? Didn't think so.

First off, I realize Postie Len Shapiro has been crusading for Monk, and I realize this is the game these HoF voters play with each other to try to seem especially important, like they're electing a Pope or whatever, but it just seems odd for McClain to credit the Dallas writer for the Dallas players' elections. I mean, what happens if a player has a persuasive case but is represented by a less-than-persuasive voter? Or what happens if a player with a non-persuasive case happens to land a part-time barrister as his committee spokesman? Credit Michael Irvin for being elected, don't credit some dorky newspaper writer. And if the newspaper writer really carried the day--if it was really his achievement--then why in the world should we care? I mean, why don't you guys just forget about football and vote for these stupid journalism awards and be done with it? "A terrific job." Sheesh.

Second off, we're supposed to believe that "nasty e-mails insulting the intelligence of the committee" might influence that august body's votes, and we're still supposed to be interested in the results? I mean, are these guys voting on who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, or running an interwebs message board? Bizarre.

David Climer of The Tennessean has a more level-headed look at the matter:

The Art Monk supporters have spoken. Loudly.

With Monk, the former Washington Redskins wide receiver, failing to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame again, his proponents have deluged members of the selection committee with questions and/or complaints.

I'm one of the voters. And I'm a Monk supporter. But the suggestion by some of his fans that Monk is the ultimate no-brainer pick is faulty logic. In the time I've been on the committee, I have learned never to use the term "no-brainer" or "slam dunk."...

I suspect Monk will make it into the Hall in the next year or so. But the longer he is not selected, the more questions are raised. This can be like a political campaign, where momentum is key. Once a candidate loses momentum and traction, it's hard to regain it.

Like I said, Climer seems reasonable, and I understand in the real world things like "momentum" and "traction" might matter, but it just seems odd. Either you think a guy deserves to be in the Hall, or you don't. None of these retirees are flubbing their debate performances or (possibly) bursting into tears in New Hampshire. Why should "momentum" matter? Do voters just get tired of looking at some boring old name, and set off in search of the new Obama?

Peter King's take is less interesting, but perhaps worth mentioning anyhow:

As one of the 40 Hall selectors, I'd love to see Hall voting be opened up so we would be accountable in such an important election for how we stand. But what happened to Monk, in my opinion, is mostly bad. Good for Monk: The major roadblock in front of him, Michael Irvin, is no longer a roadblock; he's in. Bad for Monk: Next year comes Cris Carter, with 161 more catches, five more Pro Bowls and 62 more touchdowns in the same number of seasons. Then Tim Brown, with 154 more catches, and the stat race is on. Every year, Monk will fall farther behind in the numbers game. As someone who changed his mind on Monk and strongly advocated him this year (unquestioned leader on a three-time Super Bowl champ, superb downfield blocker, retired as the all-time receptions leader, never squawked for the ball with some other me guys in the locker room), I think it's going to be tough to get him in if he hasn't gotten in by now.

Which is fine. If nothing else, it should provide three or four blog items for me next year around this time.

(Major hat tip to the Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign blog for some of these links, and I apologize if all this ground has been covered in LaCa land. I don't go 'round there much any more; gives me vertigo.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 7, 2007; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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He seemed less-douchey in Die Hard. Can't they let Richard Justice take his spot?

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 7, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

John McClain the columnist -- not nearly as cool as Detective John McClane of Die Hard fame.

McClain's column is just one of more than a few reasons I wish we would have let Mexico keep Texas.

Posted by: Markus V. | February 7, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

yeah...that was a joke. but thanks.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 7, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Mine was a joke too, you just typed yours faster.

Posted by: Markus V. | February 7, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

On one hand I would love to see all HOF voting taken away from writers and given to a computer system but then I get BCSitis.

And it shouldn't matter what the next guy coming up numbers are. if you're a hall of famer when you retire compared to who was in at that time then you should be in. If thats not the case then NO ONE should be elected, cause you know, down the road someone is going to pass their numbers.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Posted by: Marc | February 7, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

No offense to you Dan, of course, but sportswriters shouldn't have the definitive say on who gets in to the Hall of Fame. McClain is a perfect example of why not. Or, if nothing else, expand the pool of voters beyond 40, for chrissakes. People like McClain who threaten not to vote for someone because of what fans say taint the whole thing.

Posted by: Reader Glenn | February 7, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I puked in my mouth a little bit.

John McClain questions the class of Redskins fans while he simultaneously insults thousands of dress wearing Female Redskins fans -- "Redskins fans wear dresses" -- or else dress wearing Altruistic Men who devote themselves to various charities. It's enough to make me sick.

The process is broken.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | February 7, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"the only thing we can consider is what happens between the white lines."

did anyone else crack up??
kill me now

Posted by: zonafan | February 7, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I cracked up too. I thought for sure the next clause would be, "even if the white lines themselves were laid down on a Mexican hooker's [heinie]."

Posted by: Lindemann | February 8, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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