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Plain Dealer confirms Grossi’s removal from Browns beat

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I’ve got a lot to say about the decision of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to remove Tony Grossi from the Browns beat based on a marginally insulting public entry on Twitter regarding owner Randy Lerner (pictured) that was apparently meant to be a private direct message.

For now, I’ll keep it short because PFT Live is looming at 12:00 p.m. ET.  And because I’ll be on radio in Cleveland at 11:20 a.m. ET to discuss the situation in further detail.  (Listen live to 92.3 right here.)

The managing editor of the Plain Dealer, Thom Fladung, appeared on that same station earlier today to confirm that Grossi has been removed from the Browns beat.  But the newspaper has yet to make an announcement, with Grossi’s name and face still appearing on the paper’s web page that is devoted to coverage of the team.

That inconsistency alone suggests an operation consisting of something other than chicken salad.

As you’ll hear if you listen at 11:20, I disagree with the decision.  And while there’s still no evidence to suggest that the Browns have pressured the Plain Dealer to make the move, there’s also no evidence to suggest that the Browns have encouraged the Plain Dealer to accept Grossi’s explanation and apology and move on.

In the end, Lerner has an opportunity to be magnanimous and thick-skinned, by publicly forgiving Grossi and urging Plain Dealer to keep him on the beat he has covered for so long.  Here’s hoping Lerner does that, and that even if he doesn’t the Plain Dealer ultimately allows Grossi to continue to do that which, according to their managing editor on 92.3 this very morning, Grossi does very well.

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35 Responses to “Plain Dealer confirms Grossi’s removal from Browns beat”
  1. vadog says: Jan 26, 2012 11:31 AM

    This is another example why Twitter is a complete waste of time, plus now it’s dangerous to your employment!

  2. tndiver says: Jan 26, 2012 11:34 AM

    If I were the newspaper, I would do this for two reasons: 1) the statement suggests he may not be objective, which newspaper reporters are “supposed to be” and 2) It could very easily lead to animosity with the team and in return not receive timely “exclusive” information.

    I doubt Lerner played a direct role in this, I think the paper HAS to do this as a necessary business decision.

  3. olcap says: Jan 26, 2012 11:41 AM

    How is that any different than when you censor posts on this site that contain no vulgarity, or profanity, but that you simply don’t like, because the contents don’t exactly “glorify” some NFL bigwig or owner.

    My belief is that this site went WAY downhill once you started to be “overcensorous” (my word for it) due to your corporate masters.

    Now I’m thinking of how many alternate versions of THIS post I will need to make to not be censored. It’s become that silly.

  4. jlinatl says: Jan 26, 2012 11:43 AM

    This may be more an indictment of a larger issue. Because of the decrease in readership and therefore impact of newspapers, they may be more reliant on the ( approval of the) subjects they cover. The Browns needed the Plain Dealer more than the Plain Dealer needed the Browns 25 years ago. Not so anymore.

    This may become more commonplace in the next few years.

  5. abengalfan says: Jan 26, 2012 11:56 AM

    Everything is fun and games until somebody loses a job.
    vadog and tndiver nailed it.
    Once again Twitter is shown to be a problem waiting to happen.
    And like Grossi or not; he has shown when it comes to the Clowns ownership he is not unbiased. Hard to stay on any beat when your motives are being questioned.

  6. brownsdawg1984 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:08 PM

    First of all, any long time Browns fan knows Grossi is a main source for every little thing getting blown way out of proportion. He’s a rumor monger/ drama queen and it causes players and coaches to be run out of town. Which has also become a specialty on this site. What other team would you talk about a beat writer for a local paper getting fired for an unprofessional tweet? Either way, Grossi is going out the way he wrote for the paper… A big deal over nothing

  7. chief0727 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:10 PM

    I wonder if Grossi will be removed from the local TV shows he hosts about the Browns? Also, this is the 2nd time he has been removed from his Browns duties. He was removed once before prior to their move to Baltimore for insulting their coach at the time, Bill Belichek

  8. captainspaulding22 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:13 PM

    Grossi was a hack; this was long overdue. Anyone who follows the Browns in Cleveland would tell you the same.

  9. gallogj says: Jan 26, 2012 12:13 PM

    Anyone who thinks Grossi isn’t objective in his articles is crazy. I never really liked his articles BECAUSE I think he’s so objective. He’s usually towing the line between love and hate when it comes to the Browns. When most fans are mad at the Browns…Grossi would find a way to be optimistic about the team’s future in the articles he writes.

    The fact that he FINALLY posted a true opinion that wasn’t impartial makes me wish for him to keep his job as the beat writer. He doesn’t deserve to lose his job for posting an opinion 95% of Browns fans agree with. There’s supposed to be truth in reporting…the fact that he’s finally being truthful about the Browns means that he’s finally as fed up as the rest of us…and that he deserves a raise!

  10. davesays11 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:20 PM

    Lerner didn’t really have a choice. “Marginally” insulting is a pretty biased way to put it, but then again how else are sports writers supposed to be when reporting on other sports writers.

  11. 6ball says: Jan 26, 2012 12:20 PM

    .

    Well done Cleveland fans. You’ve identified the problem and remedied it. Let me be the first to toast you as 2013 Super Bowl Champions.

    Grossi was killing the passing game.

    .

  12. birddawg581 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:21 PM

    I always disliked Grossi as a writer. Not sad to see him go. That being said I think it is important to point out that he still works for the Plain Dealer. Grossi is still employed… He just won’t be reporting on the Cleveland Browns. So he really didnt lose his job.

  13. deepbacksidedig says: Jan 26, 2012 12:22 PM

    If Grossi was bumped as a result of pressure from Lerner, I would not like this.

    My personal problem is I do not care about twitter, low signal to noise, it is short attention span, overwhelmingly worthless.
    Folks look childish, from Irsay to Palin using the little kiddie text abbreviations.

    My predisposition against twitter causes me to disrespect a supposedly pro journalist who first decides to go there, and second, makes an ass of himself, and his paper.

    By accident? Friends don’t let friends Tweet drunk?
    TUI.

    The reporter looks like an amateur, the paper should be embarrassed.

    TLDR: Twitter is stupid. A pro should know better.

  14. bernie19kosar says: Jan 26, 2012 12:23 PM

    What is being overlooked is that Grossi has been a horrible bear writer for seasons.

    Remember, the reason this all started ass because he said that it wasn’t his “job” to cover a press conference of the owner of the team he supposedly covers.

    He hates the owner, the fans, and the team, get someone in there who actually wants to give a crap about his job.

  15. neemdaddy13 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:26 PM

    Grossi got what he deserved, no question about it. He should have been removed long before this tweet. Either way, the correct result.

  16. ppdoc13 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:26 PM

    Grossi is a turd. He is a little man who keeps a grudge forever. Just ask him about Art Modell. I hope that with his removal from the beat, they remove him from voting for the HOF.

  17. lawyermalloy says: Jan 26, 2012 12:27 PM

    It doesen’t say a whole lot about the journalistic integrity of the Plain Dealer in allowing the “newsmakers” dictate who reports the news; it’s somewhat like giving the keys to the asylum to the patients!

  18. jimmybrock says: Jan 26, 2012 12:28 PM

    I didn’t always agree with Tony Grossi assessment of the Browns; but I enjoyed hearing his opinions.

    Now I wonder who will be doing the 20 or 30 Mock Draft versions for the PD now that Grossi is gone?

  19. captainspaulding22 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:30 PM

    @davesays11:

    Couldn’t agree more; “pathetic” and “irrelevant” are more than marginally insulting. It was a personal attack on the owner of the franchise which he was dependent upon to make a living. That tweet was about as stupid and unprofessional as it gets; not all that surprising for those of us who have suffered through Grossi’s “reporting” over the years.

  20. ticalcaldwell says: Jan 26, 2012 12:32 PM

    If they did this in Cincy every time a reporter bad-mouthed Mike Brown….there wouldn’t be any media left here….

  21. brownoholic says: Jan 26, 2012 12:33 PM

    Grossi is not unemployed. He just isn’t covering the Browns any more. And it’s been confirmed that neither Lerner or the Browns had anything to do w/ it. It was mainly just Grossi being stupid . . .

  22. dexterismyhero says: Jan 26, 2012 12:34 PM

    Thom Fladung…hahahaha…..great name..

  23. captainspaulding22 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

    @chief0727:

    “He was removed once before prior to their move to Baltimore for insulting their coach at the time, Bill Belichek”

    Grossi has a track record of allowing his personal hatred and bias to pollute his reporting. His coverage of the Mangini era in Cleveland was fraught with personal bias and vendettas; it was a complete embarrassment to journalism.

  24. vincentbojackson says: Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

    Tiki Barber is “flabbergasted”, Ed Reed thinks Grossi was “rattled” and Flacco wants a little credit for breaking the story.

  25. tndiver says: Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

    I just saw this as well. Maybe it was time to move him to another sport. from this article and other previous issues, it may have been the final straw for the newspaper.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/far_too_late_and_for_one_of_the_worst_possible_reasons_tony_grossi_out_as_plain_dealer_browns_beat_writer/9584744?linksrc=mb_right_col

  26. tndiver says: Jan 26, 2012 12:38 PM

    You don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

  27. td40 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:39 PM

    6ball says:
    Jan 26, 2012 12:20 PM

    Well done Cleveland fans. You’ve identified the problem and remedied it. Let me be the first to toast you as 2013 Super Bowl Champions.
    —————————————————

    Yes. It was the FANS that got Grossi fired. Great post. Your Nobel prize is in the mail, genius.

    I guess someday (and I use the term “someday” loosely) when the Browns manage to crawl into the playoffs again (hey, it’s happened before), you’ll credits the fans for that, too.. right?

  28. jenniferxxx says: Jan 26, 2012 1:04 PM

    olcap … you are 1000% correct.

  29. fan70 says: Jan 26, 2012 1:05 PM

    Being critical of a poorly run franchise doesn’t mean you’re biased, it’s just the truth! Sometimes reporting the truth can push the team to take much needed action. Or, we can all sit home and just think positive thoughts and see if that will make things better!

  30. erikinhell says: Jan 26, 2012 1:24 PM

    gallogj says:
    Jan 26, 2012 12:13 PM
    He doesn’t deserve to lose his job for posting an opinion 95% of Browns fans agree with.
    ==================================
    Do you mean that his assertion that Randy Lerner is a irrelevant owner? This must be one of those ‘67.5% of statistics are made up on the spot’ stats with that 95%.

    Randy Lerner has admitted publicly that he doesn’t know enough about football to properly run the team. That is why he’s tried to hire people that do know. Unfortunately, he needs that first hire to be the one good one. So far, he’s listened to the NFL, former players, and other NFL team president wannabees (Policy, Clark, Mangini, Davis) to run his team.

    I’d much rather have an owner that knows enough about football to sign the checks and get the hell out of the way, instead of trying to micromanage a team (Jerry Jones, Snyder, Al Davis after he went mad).

  31. jackblackshairyback says: Jan 26, 2012 2:54 PM

    bernie19kosar says:Jan 26, 2012 12:23 PM

    What is being overlooked is that Grossi has been a horrible bear writer for seasons.

    Remember, the reason this all started ass because he said that it wasn’t his “job” to cover a press conference of the owner of the team he supposedly covers.

    He hates the owner, the fans, and the team, get someone in there who actually wants to give a crap about his job.

    100%. Grossi got butt hurt because that interview went to Trivisonno, not him. He’s a small, vindictive little creep.

  32. j0esixpack says: Jan 26, 2012 3:00 PM

    So Lerner took offense that he was called thin skinned and shallow

    … and then proved it by pushing Grossi off the Browns beat.

  33. blantoncollier says: Jan 26, 2012 3:05 PM

    Tony Grossi has spent 27 years covering the Browns. He is no Peter King or Chris Mortensen, nothing more than a local hack.

    He allowed his personal opinion, in most cases dislike, blur his professional judegment. He tried to run Bill Belichek out of town. He never gave Eric Mangini an inch even when his team played beyond their talent level. And he failed to report to Browns fans that Holmgren and Heckert had decided to “go young” meaning rebuild last January.

    By making a personal attack on Randy Lerner he lost his final bit of credibility. He isnt some “internet hack” or a columnist he is a beat writer for a newspaper that is supposed to be free of personal bias,.

    So long Tony.

  34. rcali says: Jan 26, 2012 3:47 PM

    Wow, a lot of people hating on Grossi. He did choose to live in Cleveland and report on a failure of a franchise….give him a break.

  35. grannyvi4 says: Jan 27, 2012 2:05 AM

    Wow…you media types stick together, don’t you?

    A so-called professional should know better and should not be surprised at the fallout. I know everyone is fascinated by all the social networking sites (everytime a new “toy” comes out people just have to have them), but whatever you post or tweet on the internet is done in ink…not pencil. It’s permanent and it’s there for anyone to see, especially one’s employer. More and more people have lost jobs, or job opportunities, because of something dumb they’ve posted or tweeted.

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