Should Tony Grossi Cover The Browns Anymore?

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Tony Grossi has been a long time journalist in the Cleveland market, covering mostly the Browns. Tony has a reputation around town for being pretty hard on players in the organization. This reputation has made it’s way to the forefront ever since Baker Mayfield was drafted by John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns with the #1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at the history of Tony Grossi and covering the Cleveland Browns.

Where Tony came from

Tony Grossi

Tony Grossi was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended college at Ohio University and graduated in 1979. Jumping forward to 1984, Tony became the beat writer for the Browns while Grossi was working at The Plain Dealer. Grossi is a very good journalist and reporter when he is just that. Tony has won multiple local and national awards over his career. During his time on the sidelines, Tony became a published author with his book “Tales from the Browns Sidelines.”

One of Tony’s first mistakes came in 2012 when he made some critical statements about the late Browns owners Al Lerner. Tony tweeted out “that he viewed Lerner as “pathetic” and “the world’s most irrelevant billionaire.” Shortly after this tweet got out, Tony was taken off the Browns beat for The Plain Dealer and eventually quit on March 7th of 2012. Tony quickly became part of the radio station WKNR, which is a sports channel that covers Cleveland sports. They assigned Tony to cover the Browns, so it was like he was never suspended.

Tony Grossi is critical of Browns QB’s

As most people know, the Browns franchise has not been able to capture much of the early year’s success and playoff consistency. During this time frame of bad draft picks, multiple head coaches, and three different owners, the Browns struggled mightily, and Tony was not afraid to voice his opinion on this subject.

The Browns quarterback list was epic, and a national joke in the media ranks with the 20 plus names listed on it over the years since the Browns came back. Tony has been very critical of many draft picks by the Browns. The most recent heavy criticism Tony gave the Browns was when they drafted Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick of the 2014 NFL .

Baker Mayfield

So this now brings us to the 2018 draft, and the Browns have the #1 pick. Tony had been very critical of past Browns general manager’s for missing on the top quarterback over the previous few years. The Browns had passed on the likes of Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, to name a few.

This year was different. The Browns had one of the best talent evaluators as their general manager, John Dorsey, who just the year before picked Patrick Mahomes for the Kansas City Chiefs. That was done in a bold move as Dorsey jumped up in the draft to get Mahomes. He didn’t have to do that here. During the process before the draft, Tony Grossi made a public comment that “he would quit if the Browns drafted Baker Mayfield #1 in the 2018 draft.” We all know how that went.

Tony and Baker’s relationship

As you can guess, Baker was not a big fan of Tony Grossi. His public comments he made about Baker possibly being a Cleveland Brown. Those did not sit well with Baker. And as I write this article, Tony did not keep his end of the bargain. With Baker being a brash, chip on my shoulder type guy, the relationship started on the wrong foot. You could tell during Baker’s interviews that he was being professional and not playing Tony’s game of tough questioning. That all changed during the 2019 season.

Baker interview when he walked off early

When the Browns were going through their losing streak, you could tell Tony was grinding on Baker. You could tell on Baker’s scheduled media availability that week, that Tony was sticking the needle to him with questions. The first incident made national headlines when Baker walked off from a media session. Tony asked some pretty bad questions that sparked an outburst from Baker, who then stormed off abruptly after responding to him. Baker later admitted that he should not have acted like that and needs to be more level headed.

What got Tony in trouble, again

So, we all know it is Combine week for the NFL in Indianapolis. WKNR was airing a show based on the Combine and upcoming NFL draft. It was during a commercial break, and the live feed was not off. Tony was heard on an open microphone calling Baker a “f—–g midget” in comparison to other quarterbacks recently drafted. This immediately went viral on Twitter and other social media.

WKNR was then left with no other option than to suspend Tony indefinitely. Here is the statement from WKNR that came out on 2/25/20.

“The term Tony used is a derogatory slur to describe Little People. Good Karma Brands will not tolerate derogatory language that demeans others or groups of people,” the company said Tuesday in a media release.

“We are addressing this matter with Tony directly, and while we normally do not comment on personnel matters, we do want to share that we have made the decision to immediately and indefinitely suspend Tony Grossi. In addition, we will pursue sensitivity and inclusion training for everyone on our content teams across our company,” Good Karma Brands stated.

Tony Grossi issues statement

Tony Grossi apology

“I am truly sorry for my language and choice of words in a remark I made about Baker Mayfield that was captured on our live feed on TheLandOnDemand.
I sincerely apologize for using a word that is a derogatory slur.
There’s no excuse for using that language in any context. It was said without malice but also without thought.
It is well known that Baker and I have had our differences, and in the course of this experience, I’ve had to question my role in the erosion of the relationship. I have always endeavored to report and comment on him and the team fairly, and am shaken by these events.
I will strive to be a better person and professional.
I apologize to little people, Good Karma Brands, the Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield, to our listeners and to anyone who was offended by my remark.”

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I'm an avid sports fan of all Cleveland teams. I watch many other sports as well. I also enjoy watching hockey and college football. I was married in 2010 and have 2 amazing kids. Boy is 7 and girl is 5 about to be 6. I live in Gainesville, Fl and have worked with my company for almost 12 years.