Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has had more success as a commercial spokesman this season than he has on the field. lackluster play has irritated sports gamblers and football fanatics to the point that they have lashed out with death threats on social media. Baker recently discussed the latest social media death threat to his wife, stating, “…it’s not like it’s anything new for us.”
Details of the Death Threat
The death threat in question was issued on social media earlier this season after a Browns loss. Though the exact date of the death threat was not provided, it is known that it occurred earlier this week. Baker and his wife seemed to have shrugged off the threat, insisting it isn’t the first to come their way.
Mayfield tossed four interceptions in a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas day. The complaints and criticism on social media began shortly thereafter. In fact, one of the quarterback’s teammates, safety John Johnson, broke league protocols by tweeting during the game. Johnson tweeted in support of the team “running the damn ball” after Mayfield’s passes fell to the ground, bounced out of receivers’ hands, and were intercepted.
The Focus is on Emily Mayfield
Emily, Baker’s wife, also acknowledged the death threats, stating, “The death threats, lies being told about my husband, and blatant DISRESPECT never ceases to amaze me.” Emily made the comments on her Instagram account. She elaborated, “For the record — I pray for those of you who even think those thoughts.”
Reporters broached the subject of the death threats on Thursday after team practice. Baker commented on the threats, stating it is difficult for him to say he can’t listen to it. He went on to state, “It’s hard when it comes down to somebody that you love, that you care about. She’s not able to change some of the outcomes of the game — or any at all.”
Indeed, Emily does not take to the field as a gridiron warrior, so it doesn’t make sense for sports gamblers and hardcore Browns fans to issue death threats against her. Nor does it make sense for those threats to be issued to the team’s starting quarterback. If the individuals issuing the threats are identified, they will be criminally prosecuted.
Mayfield is approaching the end of his rookie contract with the Browns. The former first overall draft pick has not reached a contract extension despite extensive talks with the organization. Baker will likely enter free agency and sign with another team after he finishes out his contract. Case Keenum, the backup for Mayfield, is waiting in the wings. Keenum led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship a couple seasons ago yet hasn’t received an opportunity to start under center since his near-stardom with the Vikings.
Can Baker Focus on Football?
With only a couple weeks left in the regular season, the Browns are still in playoff contention. Baker insists he will tune out the noise, including the death threats, yet admits, “…it’s hard to advise other loved ones to do that.” Baker is clearly referencing his wife, Emily.
Take a look at the quarterback’s statistics on the season and you will begin to question whether the criticism and threats are taking a toll on his play. The diminutive pocket passer has led the Browns to a disappointing 7-8 record. He has thrown a lowly 2,825 yards, for a mere 15 touchdowns while tossing 11 picks and being sacked 34 times. All in all, Baker’s completion percentage is a pathetic 62.4%, making him one of the league’s least successful passers.
Baker’s off-field issues extend beyond family death threats. The quarterback has been heavily criticized by the media and even current and former teammates. The Browns’ former star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., relocated earlier in the season after his father allegedly took to social media to criticize Baker for failing to throw him the ball at the frequency a Pro Bowl receiver deserves.
Baker is Focusing on the Pittsburgh Steelers
Only time will tell if the “keyboard warriors”, as Baker describes them, will have a negative impact on his career and psyche. However, it is worth noting thatthe quarterback concluded his interview yesterday with a message for those issuing death threats to himself and his wife on social media, stating, he prays for the individuals who even think of issuing death threats, “…let alone type them out.” He concluded the comment by stating, “I hope you can find some happiness so you stop trying to steal it from others.”
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The Browns are scheduled to do battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming Monday on Monday Night Football. Baker and his Browns are surprisingly favored by three points in the do-or-die game, no pun intended.