The League

Leonard Shapiro
Columnist

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

More Transparency, Please

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As a longtime Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, I've also been a longtime advocate for more transparency in the voting process.

I have no problem having a closed meeting the Saturday morning before the Super Bowl to discuss the pros and cons of each of the final candidates. I think that leads to an extremely frank -- warts and all -- discussion on every one of them, and I believe that process ought to remain the same, along with the proviso voters do not discuss specifics about who spoke out in favor of a particular candidate or who was vocally opposed.

Then again, once the session is over, I have no problem talking in general terms about the specific arguments made in the room, though the Hall's board discourages that as well.

All that being said, I believe that every vote, from the cut from 15 down to 10, and the final cut from 10 to the seven surviving finalists, to the final yes or no vote on each of those seven guys, ought to be made public.

If you don't have the courage of your convictions or the guts to allow your name to be released as voting yea or nay in every step of the final process, maybe you don't belong in the room.

I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed walking out of that selection committee meeting knowing a worthy candidate has been done in by what some of us in the room consider to be silent assassins (Think Art Monk, among others).

The assassins never voice an objection in the open discussion, but then vote no in the end witrh total impunity. I'd like to see that changed, but the decision is out of my hands. Those sort of rules changes have to come from the Hall's board of directors, and so far, they're content with maintaining the status quo.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  August 7, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  | Category:  Fans , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Everyone calls for 'public accountability' for other people, so I agree with Mr. Shapiro on his views.

If a member is 'man enough' to vote 'No' in secret, then be 'man enough' to allow people to know you did, and why. If you have valid reasons for that 'No' vote, people should, and will, take those reasons into account. If a member of the selection committee is intent to kill a nomination for secret reasons, then why is that person allowed to be a member of the committee?

Posted by: critter69 | August 9, 2009 1:27 AM

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