Not everyone is a fan of Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett being reinstated for the start of the NFL season after his helmet-swinging attack on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Noted ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith is in the camp of people who wanted to see Garrett on the sideline for at least Week 1, expressing his point of view shortly after the decision was announced on “First Take.
“I think he should have been suspended at least of the season opener. You go into the offseason and then everybody forget,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “If you’re the NFL and you’re about sending a message as a deterrent. You don’t sit up there and let this season start with an entirely clean slate. At least one more game, the season opener, where you remind everybody this is why he’s gone.”
Garrett — the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft — missed the Browns final six games of the season and his actions cost him more than $1 million in missed paychecks and fines.
Smith’s fellow First Take star Max Kellerman was on the other side of the arguement.
“I thought everyone overreacted to this,” said Kellerman. “When you add it all up, it was a serious infraction. Myles Garrett should have been suspended. He was suspended. It’s a new season. He’s shown contrition, I assume, or the league wouldn’t reinstate him…It’s now over.”
Browns Have Been Supporting Myles Garrett
Garrett was on pace for a Pro Bowl season before his suspension, amassing 10 sacks. He was also set to obliterate the franchise’s single-season sack record (Reggie Camp, 14).
The Browns have supported Garrett every step of the way during the turbulent time. Team owner Dee Haslam wore a hat shortly after the suspension to Garrett was announced and new general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement that the team was looking forward to welcoming him back.
“We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms,” Berry said. “We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a teammate, player and person in our community.”
Myles Garrett Doubles Down on Racial Slur Claim
Garrett has been apologetic about the incident, but recently doubled down on his accusation that Mason Rudolph sparked the brawl by calling him a racial slur, despite NFL officials saying they found no evidence.
“He called me a ‘stupid N-word,” Garrett told Mina Kimes of ESPN. “When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away. But once he came back, it kind of reignited the situation. And not only have you escalated things past what they needed to be with such little time in the game left, now you’re trying to re-engage and start a fight again. It’s definitely not entirely his fault, it’s definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn’t have been doing.”
Garrett alleged in the interview that there is audio of the incident, and that it’s up to the NFL to release the tapes.
“I know something was said,” Garrett said. “Now whether the NFL wants to acknowledge it, that’s up to them. But I don’t want to make it a racial thing, honestly. It’s over with for me. And I’m pretty sure it’s over with for Mason. So we just wanna move past and keep on playing football.”