ESPN Cleveland suspends reporter for using 'derogatory slur' to describe Baker Mayfield

Chris Cwik
·2 min read
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
An ESPN Cleveland host was suspended after using a derogatory slur to describe Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. (AP Photo/David Richard)

An ESPN Cleveland radio personality has been suspended by the station after using “a derogatory slur to describe Little People” when talking about Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Tony Grossi, who has gotten into it with Mayfield in the past, was caught using the term on a hot mic.

Grossi, 63, believed he was off the air when he made the comment. After being presented with all the quarterbacks the Browns have passed on in recent years, Grossi responds by saying, “And who do we got? A f---ing midget.”

ESPN Cleveland suspended Grossi indefinitely following that comment. In a statement, ESPN Cleveland said it “will not tolerate derogatory language that demeans others or groups of people.” The station also apologized to “our fans, our partners, the Browns and Baker Mayfield.”

Good Karma Brands — which is listed at the bottom of the statement — is a media conglomerate that manages several ESPN affiliates, including ESPN Cleveland.

The term “midget” is considered a derogatory slur, according to the Little People of America. The organization asked people to abolish the term in 2015.

Following the suspension, Grossi apologized “to anyone who was offended by my remark.”

It’s far from the first time Grossi has expressed displeasure with Mayfield. Grossi has been one of Mayfield’s biggest critics, and the reason Mayfield stormed out of an interview during the season. While the two have butted heads a couple times, Grossi’s comments Tuesday crossed the line.

It’s unclear when — or if — Grossi will return from his suspension. Mayfield has yet to comment on the issue.

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