Last night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Celeveland Browns ended in one of the ugliest brawls to ever happen in NFL history. With only seconds left on the clock the Browns were heading towards a 21-7 victory over the Steelers when Browns defensive end Myles Garrett became vehemently violent and attacked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Garrett tackled Rudolph to the floor after he completed a pass to Terrell Edmunds. Though the pass was already complete, Garrett didn’t stop there. The Browns defensive end grabbed onto Rudolph’s helmet, pulled him up from the turf, removed his helmet and then proceeded to brutally pummel the quarterback in the head with it. Actions like these are unacceptable and call for extreme disciplinary measures.
Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the NFL has suspended Myles Garrett indefinitely. Though it was clear that Garrett lost his cool and escalated things to the extreme, sports analysts are torn in disagreement over who is to blame for last night’s brawl and if the punishments against Garrett are rational. In this morning’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, sports analysts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman got into this exact debate and voiced both of their opinions on the incident.
Max Kellerman’s Opinion
Sports analyst Max Kellerman was not happy about last night’s outcome in the Steelers vs Browns game. He began this mornings episode of First Take by saying, “Mason Rudolph needs to be suspended for at least one game.” Kellerman added to his statement by voicing his opinion that Rudolph was the player who initiated the fight. He elaborated and said that Garrett used the helmet as a weapon only in retaliation, as he was the first one to be attacked.
Kellerman then revealed, “there has been a totally hysterical reaction to this in terms of the danger which has been overstated in what just happened and everything,” Kellerman said. “People talking about Myles Garrett, the rest of the season, kick him out of the league. Calm down.”
Kellerman’s opinion is based on his thoughts that the league and fans are only looking at the disproportional retaliation which he believes to be wrong. Though this may be the case, Garrett’s behavior was unacceptable. If one cannot control their temper, they should not be able to take the field.
Stephen A. Smith’s Reaction
Stephen A. Smith completely disagreed with Kellerman’s view and was actually shocked that he would even defend Garrett. Smith said that Garrett was the one who initiated the fight when he decided to drive Rudolph into the ground after one, the pass was already complete and two, the Browns already had solid victory over the Steelers. Smith didn’t excuse Rudolph’s reaction rather he gave reasons as to why the Steelers quarterback may have retaliated.
To support his argument, Smith brought up the valid point that Garrett had on a helmet when he decided to clock Rudolph’s unprotected head. Therefore, the fight was an unfair match. NFL analyst Damien Woody echoed Smith’s statements telling Kellerman, “Max, we’re talking about a guy who could have been seriously injured or potentially killed in this particular situation with a weapon,” Woody said. “We’re talking about a 6’5″ 275-pound man who’s adrenaline is at an all-time high and if he used the crown of the helmet, who knows what could have happened.”
No matter what the circumstances were, it is never admissible for a player to use another player’s helmet as a weapon. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL rightfully punished Garrett and “suspended him indefinitely, with a minimum of at least this regular season and playoffs.”