As the Cleveland Browns prepared to play their final game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney voiced some frustrations with the organization. Clowney estimated that there was a 95% chance he would not be back in Cleveland for the following season and felt that fellow pass rusher Myles Garrett received preferential treatment from the organization. As a result, Clowney was sent home. On Friday, he apologized, though took his frustration out on another source.
Clowney said (per Adam Schefter, ESPN) “As a son and a parent, I want to fully apologize to anyone offended, specifically Myles Garrett and his family,” Clowney said in the statement. “As a man, I have reached out to Myles specifically to apologize. I will continue to learn and grow as I move forward.”
He also said that his comments were “not only taken out of context, but completely misrepresented.”
The story in question was written by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Both Cabot, as well as David Campbell, Sports Manager of Cleveland.com, responded by defending the original article.
“Jadeveon Clowney’s comments last week in his one-on-one interview with Mary Kay were quoted verbatim and were an exact and accurate representation of what he said,” Campbell said, per Dan Labbe, Cleveland.com. “In fact, the key points of Clowney’s complaints were later corroborated by other Browns players and coaches. The context really could not have been any fuller.”
“During our nine-minute long, one-on-one interview, I asked Jadeveon if he was OK with me writing what he said and he said yes,” added Cabot. “During the interview, he expressed his unhappiness with being given tougher matchups at various points during the season and stated he only played third downs against Baltimore because of it. His own defensive line coach, Chris Kiffin, confirmed this during a media session last week. The story accurately represented his feelings and I did not take him out of context in any way, shape or form.”
There’s always a “he said, she said” element to stories like this, particularly if the interviews weren’t done on camera. So, it’s hard to know exactly who’s telling the truth. The most likely scenario here is that Clowney quickly regretted what he said. Perhaps he regretted the comments because of the fallout. Or, perhaps the comments didn’t represent his true feelings about the situation as much as the frustration of the moment.
Certainly, it’s possible that his comments were just completely taken out of context. It’s certainly possible that the comments were taken out of context. But if other members of the organization said similar things and Clowney gave his blessing to print his words, it’s unlikely.