CLEVELAND - There is much controversy surrounding the status of one of the Browns most prominent beat reporters for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, following an apparent tweet criticizing the team's owner.
Tony Grossi's last tweet was posted Jan. 18. He has since gone silent on social media. Up until then, he had posted to Twitter nearly every day, with a following of more than 15,000 people.
Profootballtalk.com reported that Grossi sent this tweet to someone:
"He's a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world."
Grossi was apparently referring to team owner Randy Lerner, and the tweet was later deleted.
The report from profootballtalk.com also said Grossi responded to his own posting during a podcast:
"Last night there was a comment attributed to me on my Twitter account. It was inadvertent, it was inappropriate, and I do apologize for it. I've reached out to Randy Lerner to apologize to him for it and we'll just leave it at that. It was inappropriate and not meant to be tweeted, but it was inappropriate nonetheless."
A blogger in Cleveland, Peter Pattakos, posted on his site, ClevelandFrowns.com, what appears to be a screen shot of Grossi's tweet before it was deleted.
An email from Grossi referred NewsChannel5 to his guild representative, who we have not been able to contact.
There is much talk about Grossi's status with the newspaper on talk radio and online – it was even a "trending" topic on Twitter Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
"I have emails from a lot of people who are very offended by what Tony tweeted and now question his credibility to cover the Browns," said Tom Fladung, managing editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The newspaper made this official statement: "The Browns had no involvement in this decision, which was made by the Plain Dealer editors. The Plain Dealer is committed to fair, balanced and objective reporting about all the same subjects we cover and across all platforms. The same journalistic standards and rules apply no matter the medium. This is very unfortunate."
Grossi was removed from recovering the Browns. The Plain Dealer is considering Grossi's future with the newspaper.
The Browns said they will not release any statement.