Thursday, January 26, 2012

Can't reassign me

It's true. It's true. Randy Lerner is "a pathetic figure and the most irrelevant billionaire in the world."

There. I said it. And I mean it.

Tony Grossi got it right. He tweeted those quoted thoughts recently and it cost him his job as the Plain Dealer's chief Browns beat reporter. He hasn't been fired by the paper and probably won't be because he's too good a reporter to cut loose.

Guess here is Tony will move on and wind up somewhere in the Internet world. Online is the place where more and more respected journalists are landing these days as the world of print journalism continues to take a pounding.

It may have cost Tony his beloved beat, but repeating it here -- and meaning it -- won't cost me.

Nothing personal, Randy, but Tony nailed this one perfectly if a little crudely for a beat reporter. This has nothing do with what I think of you personally since we've never met and therefore I have no opinion on that.

It has everything to do with what I think of you professionally, as owner of the Browns. And I think -- without really knowing -- that's what Tony was thinking when he hit the wrong button on what has turned out to be an ill-advised tweet.

As the owner of the Cleveland Browns for the last decade, your record has been worse than pathetic if that's possible. It has been embarrassing to the city of Cleveland and its legion of loyal professional football fans. And you should be ashamed for the product that you, in this buck stops here world of ours, have produced.

You continually surround yourself with the wrong people. You listen to the wrong people among your ownership constituency. After nearly a decade of ownership, I am thisclose to believing you and Murphy's Law have a lot in common when it comes to running the Browns.

And while I don't believe you had anything to do with Tony's reassignment, you gave him enough fodder with your pathetic guidance of the team to cause him to overreact emotionally. It appeared to be an "enough already" moment that triggered that tweet.

As for your monetary status and its irrelevancy, that statement stands on its own merit. You are a billionaire and you are irrelevant. Judging from your shyness with the media, what's wrong with being called irrelevant? It's almost as though you enjoy being in the background. That's where a lot of irrelevant people choose to reside.

No doubt they are celebrating Tony's status change in Baltimore, where the Ravens for years have tried unsuccessfully to override Tony's influence in keeping Art Modell out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His powerful lobbying against such a move has been a decisive factor in keeping Modell where he belongs -- on the outside looking in.

With Tony now ostensibly out of the picture and no one standing in the way, count on the Ravens to once again ramp up their efforts to elevate Modell to HOF status. Wouldn't be surprised if Randy Lerner lends support somewhere along the way among his ownership brethren.

Too bad. Unless some unknown HOF voter shares Tony's passion for keeping Modell where he belongs and picks up Tony's baton and runs with it, looks as though the The Great Traitor will finally get his wish. From this standpoint, he then would become the Most Irrelevant Man in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hopefully, that will never happen.


  1. Good one Rich... The most Irrelevant man in the HOF... Scarey thought...
    I agree Grossi was right but he must have been pretty drunk to have pulled that blooper... Alcohol is a hell of a drug...

  2. I know Tony. He's not a drinker. And yes, he was spot on with his assessment of the Browns owner. Too bad his bosses took the cowards' way out.

    If I were his boss, I would have told him to exercise better judgment in the future. It's too bad that a quarter of century of good journalism has been tarnished by one dumb act and the foolish and unnecessary reaction by his employers.