By Steve Czaban Special to Published Feb 07, 2007 at 5:03 AM

Once again, Art Monk has been given the shaft.

This latest omission from the Pro Football Hall of Fame is even more insulting given the induction of a mouthy, semi-literate crackhead whose signature move was the illegal push-off.

It remains both a colossal joke, and an inexcusable outrage.

I'd love for the closed-door room of sportswriters who decide these inductions every year to have the balls to allow ESPN televise the arguments and publicize the actual votes.

But they don't. And they won't. Because they lack the integrity as a group to do the right thing.

You would think, at some point, the writers in that room would ask for help. There's no reason at all why former players - like, say, current Hall of Famers - shouldn't be allowed to weigh in on who is Hall-worthy.

The fact that only one full-time kicker and no punters are in the Hall of Fame proves that the panel doesn't have the required knowledge of the game to properly evaluate those names that come before them. I've heard the "argument" against a punter making the Hall (Ray Guy being the obvious choice) is that you can't put a guy in the Hall who only made 6 plays a game.


Using that non-logic, we should eliminate punters altogether.

How on earth do these buffet-grazers with press passes evaluate offensive linemen? On what basis do they assess a lineman's skill set? There are no stats to churn through. No highlight plays to jog their memory and no elaborate feature stories about how the left guard is the key to Team A's incredible offense.

Hall of Fame inductees are often members of overly romanticized teams. This is why there are too many Raiders and Steelers inductees from the 1970's. The ‘90's Cowboys are heading the same way.

Yeah, they won three Super Bowls. So did the Redskins with Art Monk. Only they came over a longer period.

I realize my Redskins are essentially a "niche" NFL team. While we have a deep and fanatic local following, I am acutely aware that our national "reach" as a franchise is virtually nil.

And while that shouldn't affect the induction status of particular players, I know it does.

The fact that Monk retired after a career filled with gentle "no comments" to the media, shouldn't matter. But I know it does.

The fact that guys like Irvin and Swann, became high profile members of the football media, shouldn't matter. But I know it does.

The precise things that Monk had in spades - leadership, professionalism, class - are apparently the attributes LEAST considered by Hall of Fame electors.

There's no use anymore getting into the specific merits of Monk for the Hall of Fame. They have all been made and they remain as airtight as they have always been. When the process more closely resembles a licked index finger held up to the wind, what's the point?

If you want a good laugh, find the 22-minute video of Monk highlights endorsing his induction to the Hall on the Web. On that video, you will hear announcer after announcer say: "Future Hall of Famer Art Monk" in reference to sure-hands No. 81.

I bet they all feel pretty stupid now, eh?

In a way, it might be better that Monk remains on the outside looking in. This way, the absurdity of the process will remain in the spotlight of the football loving public. While my personal agenda is certainly skewed by being a Redskins fan, I know that there will be future sleights of perhaps equal or greater outrage.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame should have the kind of weighty credibility that it deserves. Instead, it remains just the "Hall of Biased Sportswriter Opinions."


Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.