Opinion: Should the Cleveland Browns Cut RB Isaiah Crowell?

May 18, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) runs with the ball during official training activities at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) runs with the ball during official training activities at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell made a mistake when he posted a controversial, disturbing and offensive image online. Should the Browns now cut ties with Crowell?

In a fair world, Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell and other professional athletes would be able to post whatever they want on social media websites such as Instagram so long as they did not break any laws. Crowell and other National Football League players like him would, in such a utopia, be excused for allowing emotions to run away with them and for uploading controversial and offensive images that are eventually deleted.

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We, of course, do not live in such a world. We live in the real world, a world that condemns a pro athlete such as Crowell when he posts a picture on Instagram that depicts a police officer being stabbed by a hooded individual. That post, for what it’s worth, saw the light of day before multiple police officers were shot and killed in Dallas last Thursday night.

Regardless of your opinion(s) on what has occurred in different portions of the United States over the past seven days, the Instagram post shared by Crowell is unacceptable for any person who represents a brand and an organization such as the Browns. One would not have to search far and wide to read a story about an employee being fired from a company for less-offensive social media shares.

The question, thus, has to be asked: Should the Browns cut Crowell?

Some think so. As Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com pointed out on July 11, ESPN Cleveland radio personality Bruce Hooley publicly called for the Browns to cut Crowell. As of July 12, over 73 percent of those responding to poll posted on a different Cleveland.com article believe Crowell “should face as severe a punishment as possible.”

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Cabot touched upon if the Browns intend on cutting Crowell before training camps open.

"(The Browns) currently have no plans to do that, but stressed in a statement that he must back up his words with action.“We have spoken to Isaiah regarding his extremely disturbing and unacceptable social media decision,” the Browns said in the statement, attributed to a team spokesman. “It was completely inappropriate and we have made him aware of our high level of disappointment.  Isaiah has apologized but also knows that just an apology is insufficient and that he must take steps to make a positive difference after a very negative and impactful post.”Before making any determination on possible discipline for Crowell, the Browns will give him a chance to redeem himself by being part of the solution instead of the problem. At this point, both the team and the NFL seem satisfied that Crowell took the post down immediately, acknowledged his mistake and is genuinely remorseful.“The image was inappropriate and insensitive,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email response. “He realized this, took down the post and has since apologized.”"

So that’s that, right? Of course it isn’t, in part because Crowell picked just about the worst time imaginable to generate a negative buzz online.

We are right in the middle of the supposed “dead period” of pro sports. The Major League Baseball All-Star break cannot end soon enough. Both the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League are quiet following the end of their seasons. Meaningful NFL action is weeks away. There isn’t even a significant international soccer tournament taking place at the moment.

Cleveland sports talk radio has, over the first two days of the second full week of July, been dominated by Crowell talk because, quite frankly, hosts have nothing better to discuss. Fair or not, the Crowell story would drift away into the clouds if the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kevin Love or the Cleveland Indians acquired an All-Star outfielder.

That’s the nature of sports and of sports talk radio.

Another real aspect to the story some don’t want to discuss is that it matters and is important that Crowell is not an All-Pro. We have seen nothing from Crowell over his first two seasons in the NFL that should lead us to believe that he is a missing piece for a sub-par football team. Crowell’s existence on the Cleveland roster or lack thereof in September probably isn’t affecting the Browns all that much.

All would do well to remember that Crowell has not, as best we know, committed a crime. Crowell is currently not in danger of being suspended, banned or even fined by the NFL. Any punishment Crowell receives will be handed down by the Browns.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that those of you who want the Browns to cut Crowell get your wish and the Browns release the 23-year-old RB. Crowell would find himself a new NFL home by the end of the month if not by the end of the week. While Crowell may not be an All-Pro in the backfield, he flashed moments of brilliance in his first two pro seasons while playing on losing teams.

One could name a dozen NFL clubs that would, at the very least, take a flier on Crowell if the Browns cut him.

Neither new Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson nor anybody else associated with the Browns need to make a long-term decision on Crowell today. Crowell could make things easy on the Browns by failing to comply with future team wishes regarding rehabilitating his image, or simply by being a bad player inside of the locker room and on the field.

History tells us that every Cleveland fan currently irate over Crowell’s recent Instagram activity will eventually forget about the matter and move on, especially if Crowell evolves into a model citizen and an impressive RB. Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles cheered Michael Vick. Donte Stallworth received multiple chances from NFL teams following DUI Manslaughter charges.

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Unless the story takes a drastic turn at some point over the next few weeks, Isaiah Crowell will be a NFL player in Week 1 of the 2016 regular season. With that knowledge in mind, do you Cleveland fans out there want Crowell on the roster of the Browns come August 1?