Chilling social media threats target NFL star & wife
Baker Mayfield claims he is taking death threats in his stride after trolls sent poisonous messages to the Cleveland Browns star and his wife Emily following an NFL defeat.
Mayfield, the first overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, threw four interceptions during his side's razor-thin defeat to quarterback counterpart Aaron Rodgers and his Packers on Christmas Day in what was the latest high-profile sub-par showing for the Browns' signal caller.
The loss was a seismic blow to Cleveland's hopes of making the postseason for the second straight year, and came in a game in which the majority of the Browns team – Mayfield aside – performed admirably.
Baker Mayfield drops it right into the basket 🎯 pic.twitter.com/tGvF2ocgI7— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 25, 2021
The criticism of Mayfield's performance was immediate, even coming from some of his own teammates. Covid-stricken defensive back John Johnson III couldn't restrain his frustration and implored his team to "run the damn ball" rather than continuing to double down on Mayfield's erratic throwing.
But some of the other social media commentary took on a far darker hue.
If you’re sending death threats to @bakermayfield@emilywmayfield6 any member of the #Browns, or anyone else for that matter, you are not a browns fan. You’re a sociopath. Please stop watching football. You need to spend your time figuring out how to be a better person. pic.twitter.com/EFprmKjMuT— Brandon Ilarraza (@LastFallnDomino) December 28, 2021
"It's crazy how much negativity is amplified by social media," Mayfield's wife, Emily, announced on Instagram.
"I'm still a believer that there are more good people out there than bad, but wow does social media make me think otherwise sometimes. Which plays into why I love to spread positivity. Our world needs more of it.
"The death threats, lies being told about my husband and blatant disrespect never ceases to amaze me.
"For the record – I pray for those of you who even think those thoughts, let alone type them out. I hope you can find some happiness and stop trying to steal it from others."
Mayfield couldn't hide his own frustration at a press conference ahead of his side's tussle this weekend with AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As this season approaches its end, the 26-year-old Texan has refused to blame a series of mounting injuries, including a badly injured shoulder he sustained in week two of the season, for his dramatic decline.
Instead, his frequent press events have been forthright with admissions that he "must do better" and confessions that he "let the team down".
But with his on and off-field issues now impacting his wife and family, Mayfield took on a different tone.
"It’s hard for me to say not to listen to it because I have quite a bit of experience of hearing a lot of opinions on the outside coming in," he said.
"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.
"It’s just one of those things that we’re in a world today where there are a lot of keyboard warriors who make empty threats and things like that, which it’s quite honestly ignorant when they go after people who aren’t involved in football.
"When you talk about taking your own life, killing somebody – that’s ignorance."
I thought you burn players jerseys when they leave your team whoever burned this jersey you do realize baker Mayfield is still on the browns and he will possibly be on the Browns next year WTF pic.twitter.com/rdL60jVBtT— DariusGarlandAllStar2022 (@camfromthe216) December 27, 2021
"I try not to listen to it because those are not the people that I would listen to whether it’s good or bad, regardless," he added. "It’s tough to tell your loved ones and your family not to defend you and look into that stuff, that’s just human nature.
"You have to take it one day at a time and realize that your priorities, your family members, the people who truly matter to you – that’s who you need to listen to.
"It’s just one of those things that it’s blown up to be a much bigger deal on the outside. It’s not like it’s anything new for us."
When Mayfield was drafted to the Browns in 2018, he was seen by many as the saviour of a team who had been among the NFL's worst for more than two straight decades.
Fans are now asking if last season's Mayfield-authored push into in the playoffs was the exception or the norm.
Another disaster against heated rivals the Steelers this weekend might just seal his fate. With videos of so-called supporters burning his jersey flooding Twitter in the past week, one suspects that the Baker Mayfield story might already be written.