ESPN Cleveland has reinstated radio personality, columnist and long-time Baker Mayfield adversary Tony Grossi following his NSFW statement on the Cleveland Browns quarterback that was caught on a hot mic.
During the combine while Grossi was discussing quarterbacks the Browns had a chance at previously and others they will miss on — including Joe Burrow, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes — Grossi was heard calling Mayfield a “f***ing midget.”
Shortly after the quote went viral on social media the station decided to suspend Grossi indefinitely.
“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,” ESPN Cleveland said in a statement.
“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.”
Mayfield did not have a statement on the issue.
Tony Grossi: Suspension was ‘Traumatic’
Grossi took to the airwaves on Wednesday to speak on the incident and what he plans to do moving forward following his reinstatement.
“It’s great to be back. I’m excited to be back. I got a lot of support from those who matter,” Grossi said on The Really Big Show. “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 has been covering the team for more than three decades, first with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and now with ESPN Cleveland. Grossi has seen a lot in his day, but his tense relationship with Mayfield is like nothing he’s seen before.
Baker Mayfield, Tony Grossi Have History
Prior to being taken No. 1 overall by the Browns in 2018, much was made of Mayfield’s height, which came in just under 6-foot-1. Mayfield went on to set the rookie passing touchdown record during his first season in the NFL. Grossi has been one of his loudest critics and the two have had spats in the past, with the rivalry predating the Browns drafting the former Heisman winner.
After the confrontation, Grossi admitted that he believes the beef goes back to the pre-draft reporting he did on Mayfield, which noted that he wanted first-class airfare when making visits. He also hinted that Mayfield wasn’t able to pay for the upgrades himself.
Their beef boiled over during this past season, when Grossi asked what Mayfield deemed the “dumbest question you could ask.” What started the ordeal was Grossi asking about the lack of urgency at the end of the first half in a loss to the Patriots.
“Being on the front lines of what we jokingly call the “100 Years War” is a unique experience. 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.
“Occasionally, I have misstepped. This is my fumble. It won’t define me. What will define 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.”