The drawing in question featured a figure completely covered in black, apart from a stars-and-stripes shoulder holster, slitting the throat of a white policeman, causing blood to spurt from his neck. Crowell added the caption, “Mood: They give polices [sic] all types of weapons and they continually choose to kill us….#Weak.”
Crowell posted the image (per cleveland.com) after incidents last week in Minnesota and Louisiana in which police killed a black man, and before five officers were slain in a mass shooting in Dallas.
“Last week was an emotional and difficult week as we saw extreme acts of violence against black men across our country as well as against police officers in Dallas,” Crowell said in a statement released by the Browns and posted to his social-media accounts. “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.
“I am outraged and upset by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile along with so many others. I am also outraged and saddened by the attacks in Dallas and the deaths of the 5 honorable police officers (Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa) who were providing protection while trying to keep peace. We have to be better as a society, it’s not about color, it’s about what’s right and wrong.
“I was very wrong in posting that image. Every single life matters, every death as a result of violence should be treated with equal outrage and penalty.”
Later on Monday, the Browns released their own statement (via Pro Football Talk):
“We have spoken to Isaiah regarding his extremely disturbing and unacceptable social media decision. 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.”
A spokesman for the NFL, Brian McCarthy, offered this comment on behalf of the league (via cleveland.com): “The image was inappropriate and insensitive. He realized this, took down the post and has since apologized.”
Crowell is entering his third season after reaching the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama State, where he had transferred after an arrest on gun charges got him dismissed from Georgia’s program. Last season he led the Browns with 185 carries for 706 yards and four touchdowns.