Cleveland Browns defensive superstar Myles Garrett was reinstated by the NFL this week after the indefinite suspension that resulted when he swung his helmet and hit the head of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph back in November.
Garrett did an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes after his reinstatement, where he doubled down on his previous allegation that he swung his helmet at Rudolph out of anger because Rudolph called him a racial slur.
Rudolph has responded to Garrett’s claim, once again denying he used any racial slurs at all. “1000% false,” Rudolph began via Twitter Saturday morning. “Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur. This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character,” Rudolph wrote, retweeting an article referencing Garrett’s allegation.
Rudolph’s legal team then got involved.
Rudolph’s Lawyers: Garrett’s Claim is ‘Ludicrous.’
Rudolph’s lawyers, Younger & Associates/QB Limited, took to Twitter with a response of their own. “We waited to hear the entire interview,” the law firm began. “Garrett, after originally apologizing to Mason Rudolph, has made the ill advised choice of publishing the belated and false accusation that Mr. Rudolph uttered a racial slur on the night in question. Note that Mr. Garrett claims that Mr. Rudolph uttered the slur simultaneously with being taken down, and before Mr. Garrett committed a battery by striking Mr. Rudolph on the head with a 6 lb helmet. His claim is ludicrous.”
Then, things got serious.
“This obviously was not the first time Mr. Rudolph had been sacked by an African American player,” the lawyers wrote. “Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to coax sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behavior. Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, the are zero corroborating witnesses — as confirmed by the NFL. Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement — in California. He is now exposed to legal liability.”
Rudolph chose not to seek legal action against Garrett after the incident last fall, but the insinuation by his legal representatives that Garrett may “now exposed to legal liability” signals this situation may not be over for a long time to come.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also released a statement of support for Rudolph after Garrett doubled down on the allegations. “I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on the field immediately following the altercation,” Tomlin wrote.
“If Mason had said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with the Browns organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions,” the Steelers coach said in his statement.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said back in November that the league “found no such evidence” against Rudolph when the issue was investigated after Garrett made the initial allegation last fall.