Myles Garrett isn’t backing down from his claim that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur before their infamous brawl last Thursday night.
“I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension. This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed.
“I know what I heard. Whether my opponent’s comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans.”
Shortly after Garrett’s statement, Browns general manager John Dorsey released his own, backing Garrett.
“As we’ve consistently stated, our organizational support for Myles will continue. He is a man of high character and unquestionable integrity. He was open and honest with us about the incident from the start. He has taken accountability for his actions on Thursday night and this situation will not define him. As an organization, our focus going forward remains on the task-at-hand, which is preparing for the Miami Dolphins.”
Browns, Steelers Clash on Issue of Racial Slur
The news that a racial slur set Garrett off seemed like news to Browns players, but they still fully had their teammate’s back.
“I know he wouldn’t lie on nothin’ like that. He’s kind of a carefree type of guy, so I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t lie about nothin’ like that,” Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson told cleveland.com. ““An ass-kicking was coming, it’s just that simple. You’re trying to hurt me, I’m hurting you. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, everyone deaf, dumb and blind at the end of the day, so that’s the way you want to go, we can take it that way.”
On the Steelers side, veteran Cam Heyward came to the defense of his quarterback.
”I think we’ve just got to own up to our mistakes as men,” Heyward said. “Move the hell on. For that to be a part of the appeal is stupid to me because that doesn’t get you out of what you did. We got to move forward and he’s got to own up to his actions.”
The Steelers quickly issued a statement that denied the allegation of the racial slur and Rudolph was not available for comment on Thursday following practice as scheduled.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Rudolph’s agent Timothy M. Younger went a step further, calling it a lie.
“According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him prior to swinging a helmet at Mason’s uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game. Never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett. The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason’s integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will haven o further comment.”
Myles Garrett’s Indefinite Suspension Upheld
The indefinite suspension for Garrett has been upheld for striking Rudolph in the head with a helmet and the defensive end can apply for reinstatement when the season ends.
Additionally, Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey — who punched and kicked Garrett while he was on the ground — had his suspension reduced from three games to two for his role in the brawl.
The NFL made an official announcement revealing the decision from Derrick Brooks and James Thrash, jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA.
On top of lost pay, Garrett was fined $45,623 for the fight. More fines are expected for other players, including Rudolph, who avoided any suspension.
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi had his 1-game suspension upheld on Wednesday.