Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell was forced to apologize this week after he posted a disturbing image on Instagram showing a masked man slitting the throat of a police officer.
Angered by the police shootings of two black men – Philando Castile in Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Crowell posted the graphic image on Wednesday, July 6 with the following caption:
“Mood: They give polices all types of weapons and they continuously choose to kill us…#Weak.”
The post was then quickly deleted, but not before people took screenshots of it and re-shared them on social media. Both the NFL and the Browns condemned the post calling it “unacceptable,” “extremely disturbing,” and “completely inappropriate.”
In his subsequent apology, Crowell explained that he was “outraged and upset” by the acts of police brutality against black men across the country:
“I posted an image to Instagram in the midst of that emotion that I shouldn’t have and immediately removed it. It was an extremely poor decision and I apologize for that mistake and for offending people. My values and beliefs do not match that image,” he said in a statement.
Crowell’s apology, however, wasn’t enough for police, especially, in light of the recent murder of five Dallas police officers. Stephen Loomis, President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association even threatened to boycott the Browns’ stadium unless Crowell takes additional steps to demonstrate contrition.
The twenty-three-year-old running back has now pledged to donate his first game’s paycheck this season to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, which helps the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
This latest incident serves as a good reminder of how one bad choice on social media can threaten an individual’s reputation, produce financial consequences and even endanger their career. This is especially true for athletes, who are highly paid and looked upon as role models by many Americans. Regardless of his frustration and the emotions he might have experienced in the heat of the moment, Crowell should have considered the impact his post might have on football fans and the highly offensive message he was endorsing by posting such a violent and disturbing image.
As we have said many times before here at the Red Banyan blog, everything you post on social media will live forever online and may some day come back to haunt you. Think twice before clicking that “send” button.