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 head coach Mike Tomlin then spoke out in Rudolph’s defense on ESPN’s First Take Monday morning, and he held nothing back.
Mike Tomlin Supports Rudolph, Blasts ESPN , Takes ‘Offense’ to Garrett
Tomlin did not mince words when he was asked about Garrett’s recent allegations. “I took offense with it, to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin told co-host Stephen A. Smith. Tomlin said Rudolph essentially paid a $50,000 fine for getting beat up, and he said he and the entire Steelers organization had put the entire incident behind them. Then, Garrett spoke to Kimes after his reinstatement, and made the allegations again. Both Rudolph and Tomlin have denied any racial slurs were ever used.
“We were hacked off with what we saw this weekend, not specifically from Myles Garrett,” Tomlin said about Garrett’s interview. “He’s been in the lane that he’s in. But what was displayed by ESPN and their panel. The way that the situation was presented, I don’t think it was fair to Mason Rudolph,” Tomlin told Smith.
“It was a thorough investigation done by us and the National Football League,” Tomlin continued. “I don’t think that that was accurately represented in that [ESPN’s Outside the Lines] piece. These accusations are serious, not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character, but in terms of his professional pursuits. Nobody on that field as a member of the Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers corroborated what was said by Myles Garrett.”
Tomlin was then asked if he thought Rudolph might sue Garrett, and the Steelers coach said he would not blame Rudolph if he took legal action.
Could Rudolph Take Legal Action Against Garrett?
Rudolph’s legal team, Younger & Associates, has also gotten involved, tweeting out the following as part of their statement this past weekend:
“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.
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 about a racial slur being used last fall.