DENVER — Safety Jermaine Whitehead’s threatening, expletive-filled and racially charged social media posts Sunday night cost him his job with the Browns.
The team announced Monday morning he had been waived.
The move wasn’t a surprise after Whitehead’s explosion in the minutes following the 24-19 loss to the Broncos. The team issued a statement rebuking him Sunday night.
“Jermaine Whitehead’s social media posts following today’s game were totally unacceptable and highly inappropriate,” a Browns spokesman said in a statement. “We immediately spoke with Jermaine upon learning of these comments. The Browns in no way condone that type of language or behavior. This matter will be further addressed internally.”
Coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t have much to add Monday afternoon at his news conference in Berea, referring to the statement and saying the organization doesn’t “condone” Whitehead’s posts.
The Browns are dealing with a variety of issues in the midst of a four-game losing streak and didn’t want this one to linger.
Whitehead was steaming inside and outside the locker room following the loss. He declined to talk to reporters but said way too much on Twitter, then Instagram after his Twitter account was suspended for violating the company’s rules.
“Crazy world. They line it up and say anything in the book too you,” he wrote on Instagram. “They tell you take the high road, when yo whole life you was taught to meet fire with fire. I do apologize for my performance, but having a broke hand and a strong fear of letting my team down is my downfall. Whatever happens happens. Ain trippin. They probably gone still talk crazy but this me getting smoke off my chest. …”
His social media meltdown seemed to start with a tweet from radio host and former NFL player Dustin Fox, who has an afternoon show on 92.3 The Fan and also works for the Browns radio network.
“Whiteheads effort tackling today is a joke.” he tweeted
Whitehead’s reply was full of expletives and racially charged. He threatened to “kill” and fight others.
“We’re going to miss him because that was a guy that played a lot of snaps for us, a guy that was a good teammate in the locker room,” safety Morgan Burnett said. “I just feel like it was a situation where his emotions got the best of him.
“I just want to pray for him. Wish him the best and get the help that he needs and pray that he gets back on his feet.”
Burnett didn’t object to the decision to cut him.
“We all are held accountable and held to a certain standard no matter where we are within the organization,” he said. “They stand behind the brand and I think that’s just part of being a professional. You have to carry yourself a certain way even at times when you feel like your buttons are being pushed, you still have young people, young kids looking up to us and watching everything we say and the way we move.”
Whitehead played all 50 snaps, missed tackles on two huge Denver plays and didn’t register a stat. He was the first of three Browns to fail to bring down rookie tight end Noah Fant on his 75-yard touchdown, trying to knock him down with a shoulder. He then missed a tackle of running back Phillip Lindsay on a 40-yard run.
Whitehead, who referred to a broken hand in the post, was listed on the injury report all week but was a full participant in practice. Kitchens said everyone’s “hurt” this time of year in the NFL but the Browns would never play someone who was “injured.”
The Browns picked up Whitehead last season after the Packers cut him following a game in which he was ejected for throwing a punch. He started all eight games this year and had 41 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.