Longtime Cleveland sports reporter Tony Grossi returned to the airwaves Wednesday, after a two-week suspension for calling Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield a “f—ing midget” when he thought he was off the air.
Grossi, who has had a contentious relationship with Mayfield for some time, apologized again and said the suspension was “traumatic” for him.
“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 has covered the Browns for over 30 years, with a long stint at the Plain Dealer before joining ESPN Cleveland and the radio station. And he said Wednesday that watching a lot of bad football can change a man.
“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.”
Whether his relationship with Mayfield will ever improve remains to be seen, but Grossi has acknowledged his role in their problems.