Plain Dealer Browns beat writer Tony Grossi calls Randy Lerner “pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world”

by Cleveland Frowns on January 19, 2012

Leave it to Tony Grossi to promptly delete the most honest words he’s ever published within minutes of having published them.

In case you missed it, notoriously reclusive Browns owner Randy Lerner went on the radio yesterday to talk about the Browns with WTAM 1100 AM’s Mike Trivosonno (partial transcript available here). Lerner predictably didn’t say much of anything* other than to confirm truisms (like that it’s “sickening” that there are so many Terrible Towels in Browns Stadium for Steelers games; that the owner bears ultimate responsibility for an NFL franchise’s success; and that “[front office] continuity is without question the ultimate sign of strength within this business” [LOL!]). But it’s so rare that Lerner descends to communicate with Cleveland’s unwashed, that its easy to understand why folks might expect the credentialed Browns media to pay some attention when he does.

On the other hand, of course, given what Grossi gets away with on a regular basis with respect to basic principles of honesty, integrity, journalistic rigor, and common decency while still keeping his job as Cleveland’s top man on the Browns beat, it’s probably much easier to understand why, when some of Grossi’s Twitter followers asked him, “Hey, Tony, Lerner was on the radio today, did you listen? Why not?” that Grossi responded with a “Not my job! Did you listen? What’d he say, anyway?,” before getting up from his laptop with an Antoine Walker shimmy to get back to his True Blood season 3 DVDs (probably).

Anyway, just a few sips later (probably), Grossi let fly with the one about Lerner being “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world.”

Which of course is something we can all be extremely thankful for. Not because Lerner is “irrelevant,” (“ineffectual,” a different story), but because the fact that Lerner still gets to draw a wholly subsidized eight-figure lifetime annuity that comes with ownership of the franchise after the full decade-plus of unprecedented futility that’s gone down since his father (who made his billions on interest from making loans to poor people) helped Art Modell steal the real Browns away to Baltimore is one of the most pathetic states of affairs imaginable not just in American sport but with respect to what’s supposed to be civilization, period. It’s not at all just that Lerner takes his marching orders from illiterate media whore/circus clowns, but much much more that we’re talking about enough bad karma here to keep the Browns mired in the depths for millenia before The Curse of Chief Wahoo even comes into the picture.

Thankfully, after years and years of feeding from the trough and empowering illiterate media whore/circus clowns and all manner of idiots, it looks like Grossi might finally be seeing the light. This thing really isn’t going anywhere until Lerner sells the team, or the Browns are otherwise restored to the hands of The People.

Deleting the tweet was a step in the wrong direction, of course, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and again, at least it got out in the first place. Break these chains, Tony. Lerner *IS* pathetic. The whole thing is. Let that light shine. Cleveland needs you.

—————

UPDATE: Grossi apologizes at Cleveland.com this morning, both in print:

“Last night, Plain Dealer Browns beat reporter Tony Grossi made an inadvertent, inappropriate post to Twitter concerning Browns owner Randy Lerner. Grossi has reached out to Lerner to apologize. The Plain Dealer also apologizes.”

And on video:

“Last night there was a comment attributed to me on my Twitter account. It was inadvertant, it was inappropriate, and I do appologize 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.”

Was not, Tony, and you know it. Stay strong.

—————

UPDATE (2): Per Vince Grzegorek at Scene:

Whispers from the friendly confines of the Plain Dealer newscomplex tell Scene that Grossi’s errant, insulting tweet might have the Browns beat writer in trouble today. Newsroom rumors, which are all they are at the moment, have Grossi actually in the office today, which as one person pointed out, never happens. Also, the editors and bosses have been talking to everyone’s favorite “most irrelevant writer in Cleveland,” and folks are assuming it’s a dressing down.

  • http://twitter.com/SeanInColumbus Sean Pullins

    I picture Tony as a Bill Compton guy because we know he is not an Eric guy.

  • Vari

    Browns are a cash cow. Round Randy wouldn’t give up his futbol spending cash for anyone. He’s got a soccer team to run, you know. He wants to hit his private jet and sling across the pond to see his guys in the short shorts. Cleveland Browns is just the name on the account he draws from.

  • wiseoldredbeard

    Why does the third tweet regarding Lerner look like it was made on photoshop?

    • wiseoldredbeard

      The more I look at that tweet the more fake it appears. Can we get some confirmation from another source that this tweet actually existed (many other sites have picked up this story and are using the frowns screenshot).

      • Anonymous

        Here, @djmrules captured it on his own feed before it was deleted and sent it to me. http://lockerz.com/s/175732623

        https://twitter.com/#!/djmjrules/status/159855345680924672

        The reason it looks different than the first two above is that you’re looking at three separate images clipped from two different sources (depending on what Twitter app one uses, and on what device, his feed will look different).

        Anyway, others saw the tweet as well and contacted me about it, both privately and publicly.

        https://twitter.com/#!/nathancwhite/status/159850638807793664

        https://twitter.com/#!/southpaw533/status/159857594813530114

        https://twitter.com/#!/inf_jest/status/159864205103734786

        Is this enough evidence for you, inspector, or should we issue a subpoena for his hard drive?

        • Viper

          Grossi apologized for the Tweet today on the PD’s Sports Insider show: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/01/watch_pd_sports_insider_live_a.html

          • Anonymous

            It was inadvertent, not meant to be tweeted, says Tony. Okay, buddy.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            CLTIL,
            Tony is one of us!
            Well…. by “one of us” I mean an idiot like me who needs a breathalyzer for every electronic device.
            (Not you of course CLTIL.)
            I stay away from my car or motorcycles when I am drunk, but my netbook and dum phone seem to jump into my hands and make me appear foolish.

            Grossi was drunk and he screwed up.

            I wonder how many ex’s he called?
            That always gets me the next day, “Hello, you were so funny last night….”
            The “am call log check” is the scariest thing since Tofurkey.

            “I promised that what?”

          • Anonymous

            So, how exactly does one apologize for such a derogatory and inflammatory attack? “Oops! My Bad”? “Thought you were someone else”?

            The dangers of Twitter.

          • Anonymous

            Joe Rogan on Newsradio said it best, circa the late 90′s….

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0T-CreVC_6Y

          • Anonymous

            Thanks. Here’s the text from the Cleveland.com post:

            “Last night, Plain Dealer Browns beat reporter Tony Grossi made an inadvertent, inappropriate post to Twitter concerning Browns owner Randy Lerner. Grossi has reached out to Lerner to apologize. The Plain Dealer also apologizes.”

            And from Grossi himself on video:

            “Last night there was a comment attributed to me on my Twitter account. It was inadvertant, it was inappropriate, and I do appologize 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.”

        • wiseoldredbeard

          The “inspector” finds your evidence persuasive. It still seems like a shockingly idiotic thing to write on about four thousand levels, even for Grossi. Lerner’s decisions (good or bad) are about as relevant as it gets to Clevelanders.

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

    Yesterday Randy comes out of his cave for the first time in who knows when, and today he’s asking for a free loan. A billionaire asking a broke city to borrow $6 million for free. What an asshole.

    • Anonymous

      Technically he’s just asking for an advance, no?

      • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

        Can you explain the difference between an advance and a free loan to me?

        Besides, that would be like me asking a homeless guy to borrow $20, even though i have $5,000 in my pocket.

  • Max

    Never in my life did I think I’d see the PD turn on Lerner…the cracks are forming. See Frownie? All this time and energy spent railing against Grossi and here it turns out he may be the key to getting this team what it has needed all along (a new owner). Has a Greek tragedy feel to it.

  • Anonymous

    There’s an excellent thing going on over at WFNY where a bunch of Villa fans have flooded the comment section on a Randy Lerner post. It’s eye-opening. Talking about how Lerner installed a “muppet manager” and doesn’t understand the game and seems absentee and is producing sterile football. Apparently he’s disliked over there too.

    If it really does start at the top, we’re screwed.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah!!! Finally a minor Cleveland Sports kerkuffle that has no downside!

    Update: “Last night there was a comment that was attributed to me, on my twitter account, it was inadvertant, uh, 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.”

    There’s a doozy. Guess the PD wasn’t too thrilled. Polish up the resume Frownie!

    While I somehow suspect the end result will be something less than Lerner spearheading an effort to change NFL ownership rules and offering to give the Browns to the City of Cleveland, there’s really no way this can end badly.

  • Anonymous
    • http://twitter.com/SeanInColumbus Sean Pullins

      Finally some drama surrounding Cleveland’s sports franchises. They usually are so boring.

      Also from Grossi’s “apology” it sounds like he meant to text or DM the comment and not Tweet it.

      • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

        It says “via txt”, which tells me he was trying to text message someone, and not even use twitter at all.

        • http://twitter.com/SeanInColumbus Sean Pullins

          I personally would like to thank Grossi. I contend that this was the Highlight of the Season for me.

          • Anonymous

            It is a genuine Festivus miracle. A floating bowl of ice cold tropical punch in a sea of steaming shit.

        • Anonymous

          I’m sure he didn’t mean to send that out. He probably accidentally replied to 40404. It happes. Doesn’t make it any less awesome, tho.

  • Anonymous
  • Chris P.

    I forgot about that photo, which seems to be PROOF that Lerner meant to give the team to larry morrow upon death.

  • Brian Sipe

    I have to take Tony’s side for once… I go off on Tony all the time on twitter and then realize later what a punk I was…. we all get carried away

    • Anonymous

      And that is why you are a mensch and we love you so much around here, Sipe.

      • Brian Sipe

        plus Uncle Tony let me back in “ask Tony” so i am trying to be nice right now HA!

  • Anonymous

    and now the Billionaire wants the city to fork over more money to fix up his free stadium.

    disgusting.

    http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2012/01/browns_want_to_spend_58_millio.html

    • Anonymous

      really really awful, but exactly how the (rigged and unbelievably regressive) system works.

      also all the money they want is going towards making the club seats fancier and clubier.

      • Anonymous

        yeah, i noticed that about the club seats.

        i also see that parts of the concrete foundation are in trouble already. this is consistent how my friend that worked on the stadium guaranteed it would come crumbling quickly because the shitty way it was built. i dont know what that really means, but the laborers all seemed to agree. what a tremendous shame/scam.

        • Anonymous

          my grandpa was a brick layer, and helped build the old municipal stadium. i’d like to believe it would have stood forever.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Love it p_4,
            It is a heart warming story about your grandpa.
            My grandfather was a cowering, illegal alien, Slovakian dwarf trying to get any job he could when old muni was built.
            I had an illegal parking scam at the old stadium when I was ten. Does that count for anything?

          • Anonymous

            Yes.

  • kjn

    Man, now I hate Grossi even more.

    True Believer supporting the cause is one thing; Spineless Hack lying through his teeth to mislead the public and further his own career is another. I wonder what his penance will be? Get ready to lick some boot, Tony.

    You know, so much of the bullshit surrounding the Browns reminds me of the shit you see in an episode of The Wire.

  • Bellh001

    The only relevance the Browns had this season nationally was to let a severely concussed quarterback back on the field..well… his hand was checked an deemed suitable..Otherwise it pains ESPN to even show the scores of Browns scores..Randy,Mikey,Tommy and Lil Pat all have a part in this irrelevance issue. Grossi have some huevos (eggs) and stick to your tweet..man up gomba

  • Garyzorn

    The brown suck and anything said about the owner is out of frustration , my god we need something, Randy sell the browns even if they leave again, because after around 50 yesrs of almost to the product we have now. How can we care anymore.

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