clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN Cleveland suspends Tony Grossi over Baker Mayfield remark

Browns analyst in trouble after calling Mayfield a derogatory term during a broadcast on Tuesday.

NFL: DEC 29 Browns at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN Cleveland handed down an indefinite suspension to analyst Tony Grossi on Tuesday for Grossi’s use of a derogatory term to describe Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

During a live radio broadcast of The Really Big Show from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Grossi was caught on mike calling Mayfield a “(f***ing) midget” while lamenting that the Browns passed on the opportunity to draft quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Joe Burrow (never mind that the Browns can’t “pass” on Burrow since they do not own the top pick):

Shortly after word got out about Grossi’s comment, Good Karma Brands issued a statement announcing the indefinite suspension:

The statement reads:

“We are aware of Tony Grossi’s statement about Baker Mayfield. 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.

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.

From Good Karma Brands, to our fans, our partners, the Browns and Baker Mayfield – we are sorry.”

That was followed by Grossi issuing his own apology:

Grossi’s apology reads:

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.

The Browns have not issued a comment, and Mayfield took the high road:

Grossi has maintained a contentious relationship with Mayfield, going back to before the Browns made Mayfield the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. The situation came to a head during the 2019 season when Mayfield left a press conference in frustration over a question from Grossi.

This is not the first time that Grossi has run into trouble for his comments.

In 2012, while working for The Plain Dealer, he was removed from the Browns beat after sending out a Tweet calling then-Browns owner Randy Lerner “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world.”