Monday, November 27, 2006

Art Monk for the NFL Hall of Fame

I know, I know - where did this blog entry come from? This one will be short and sweet - and necessary.

Art Monk is one of the classiest individuals to ever play in the NFL. He was also a tremendous receiver. At the time of his retirement, Monk held the all-time record for most catches. He was the most important guy in the locker room during the entirety of the Redskins glory run of the 1980s and early 90s. He was undoubtedly the best blocking wide receiver that has ever played, and speaks to what is universally recognized about Monk - he was unselfish, always did what was asked of him, and always put the team's interests first. His impact was enormous, and can only be partially seen in measured statistics, which alone ought to be sufficient for his induction into the Hall.

However, for a number of years now, the selection committee has rejected Monk in the final phases of the voting. Monk's rejection highlights a number of problems in the selection process, not the least of which is that Monk is only one of several outstanding receivers who have been snubbed for problematic reasons.

But on the plus side, it now appears that Peter King has finally seen the light. King has been one of the committee members who has been very influential in keeping Monk out of the Hall. King has previously been brave enough to give his reasons for rejecting Monk, and his reasons have been exposed to considerable critique from many. But now it seems King has changed his mind on Monk, and will vote in favor of his induction during the next round of Hall selections. This is a very positive development, though it doesn't guarantee anything in part because one of Monk's biggest backers on the committee, Michael Wilbon, will no longer be on the selection committee because of his increasing focus on basketball coverage.

One more thing on Monk. Monk has been one of the most outstanding members of the community that anyone can remember. He is quiet, soft-spoken, and doesn't seek after the limelight. Much of what he has done both on and off the field have gone unrecognized by a public and a press that's more enthralled with showboat entertainment than dignified professionalism. But Monk has been a leader in the community both during his playing days and during his retirement from the NFL. As great a football player as he was, he is a much better human being. Monk is exactly the kind of person/player who should be in the Hall. The fact that the selection committee has spurned his candidacy for so long is a travesty that speaks very ill of the selection process. Art Monk will never campaign for himself, but there are many who have been campaigning for him for longer than I have. But I am proud to lend my meager voice to the many others who are outraged that Monk is not already in the Hall and that there are apparently significant numbers of folks on the committee who continue to make poor excuses to justify their nay.

Art Monk belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame, not because Monk needs the Hall, but because the Hall needs Monk. The time for stonewalling his candidacy has long past. The time for casting a proper vote that will help redeem the selection process and make the Hall itself a more worthy institution is long overdue. It's time to finally do the right thing. The selection committee needs to get it done, big time.


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