Being a Cleveland Browns fan means there are insane stories surrounding the team that emerge on a near daily basis.
One of the latest had to do with ESPN 850’s Tony Grossi calling Baker Mayfield an “(expletive) midget” during a live stream when he though his microphone was off.
The controversial comment got Grossi suspended and he returned to the airwaves Wednesday to address the situation.
Grossi offered up an apology that was more about himself than what he said about Mayfield.
Longtime Browns reporter back on the air, after two weeks of suspension for derogatory remarks about Baker Mayfield https://t.co/ASbWjIMtwZ
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 11, 2020
This was an odd way to address the situation.
Tony Grossi’s Apology
Pro Football Talk shared what Grossi said in his short apology:
“It’s great to be back. I’m excited to be back. I got a lot of support from those who matter,” Grossi said during his return to 850 WKNR, via Joey Morona of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “A few things I do want to say. This obviously was a situation taken very seriously by our company and by me. For me, it’s been humiliating, it’s been quite traumatic, in fact. But it’s also been a learning experience to me.”
Grossi was essentially apologizing for being caught.
If the microphone had not been on, there would have been no issue.
He went on to say:
“Being on the front lines of what we jokingly call the ’100 Years War’ is a unique experience,” he said. “It’s not like covering the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Cleveland Indians. It’s certainly not like covering the Steelers or the Packers, teams that have a lot of success and a lot of fun and a lot of joy.
“And I don’t take it lightly, this career that I’ve had, this job that I have here at WKNR and ESPN Cleveland. Occasionally, I have misstepped. This is my fumble. It won’t define me. What will define me is stepping up, learning from it, moving forward and doing the positive things I need to do to show that I’m a better person from it. And that’s what I intend to do.”
There is a clear problem here.
He is supposed to be an analyst covering the team and clearly has a huge problem with Mayfield.
An apology was obviously coming.
But making it about himself and calling it a learning experience is just a non-apology.
Tony Grossi officially reinstated by WKNR 850. Says on The Really Big Show: "This is my fumble. It won't define me. What will define me is learning from it and stepping up."
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) March 11, 2020
Missing The Mark
He is ignoring the fact of why people were genuinely upset in the first place.
The Browns could not have liked the comment and it could affect his station’s coverage and access with the team.
Then there is the fact Grossi used the word “midget.”
People can call others soft or sensitive all they want, but that word is offensive to a specific group of people.
Grossi does not seem like a guy with a grudge against little people.
He could have at least acknowledged he said that and made it clear it was wrong.
Alas, he did not do that.
Grossi is now back at work and life will go on for him.
He just can’t expect to have Mayfield or really any other Browns player talk to him during the season.
That could end up being what finally ends his career covering the team.