CLEVELAND — Two weeks after being suspended for making a derogatory comment about Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Tony Grossi made his return to 850 WKNR/ESPN Cleveland airwaves on Wednesday morning.
Appearing on The Really Big Show, the longtime Browns columnist addressed his absence, which came as the result of an online feed catching him calling Mayfield a "f---ing midget" during a commercial break at the NFL Scouting Combine on Feb. 25.
In what marked his first on-air appearance since the suspension, Grossi said the following:
"It's great to be back. I'm excited to be back. I got a lot of support from those who matter. A few things I 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 for me.
"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. 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 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."
Grossi's history with Mayfield dates back to the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft, in which Grossi advocated against the Browns drafting the Hesiman Trophy-winning signal-caller.
Over the course of the past two seasons, the columnist and quarterback have shared an adversarial relationship, with Mayfield abruptly ending a press conference in October over Grossi posing what he deemed to be "the dumbest question you could ask."
Shortly after 850 WKNR/ESPN Cleveland's parent company Good Karma Brands announced his suspension, Grossi tweeted the following 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," he said. "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."
Mayfield has yet to publically acknowledge Grossi's comment or suspension.