Cleveland Reporter Reassigned Over Tweet

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CLEVELAND—A reporter who covered the Cleveland Browns for the Plain Dealer has been sidelined all because of a tweet. That tweet is causing quite a firestorm.

Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Tony Grossi has tweeted at least 4,907 times, but his last tweet was the tweet heard 'round the world.'

Last week, Grossi tweeted on his Twitter page: "He's a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world," speaking about Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

It's unclear if Grossi was trying to direct message one of his followers or simply post a message. Whatever it was, it was made available for the entire world to see.

"Last night there was a comment that attributed me on my Twitter account. It was inadvertent, inappropriate, and I do apologize. I have reached out to Randy Lerner to apologize to him about it," Grossi said in a taped apology posted in a podcast on

Grossi has since deleted the comment but it wasn't enough to save his job as Cleveland Browns beat reporter. He has since been reassigned.

The Plain Dealer released this statement to Fox 8 News:

"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 subjects we cover and across all platforms. The same journalistic standards and rules apply no matter the medium. This is very unfortunate."

All this raises an ethical question when it comes to Journalism and the new world known as social media. What are the lines or boundaries of free speech?

"We are making up the rules right now for this new world of social media," said Mark Tebeau, a professor at Cleveland State University.

Tebeau said social media has changed the way we view free speech and the right to express ourselves on social media.

"It's possible we will never again, that we think of our private lives in quite the same way because of social media like Facebook and Twitter," said Tebeau. "The line between personal and private in social media and things like Twitter is really hard to figure out where to put it."

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