Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has reiterated his claim that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph directed a racial slur against him in the midst of what would become an on-field melee during a game in November.
In an interview with ESPN, Garrett said Rudolph had called him “a stupid N-word” after Garrett had dragged Rudolph to the ground on one of the last plays of the game.
“When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away,” Garrett said. “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 had tackled Rudolph to the ground well after Rudolph had gotten rid of the football on a swing pass with less than 20 seconds left to play in a two-score game. While both players were on the ground, Rudolph then grabbed Garrett by the helmet and appeared to try and pull his helmet off. Garrett then responded by grabbing Rudolph’s facemask and succeeding in ripping the helmet off the head of the Steelers quarterback. As the pair got to their feet, Rudolph then charged back at Garrett as lineman David DeCastro had tried to push Garrett away from the incident. Garrett then swung Rudolph’s detached helmet and hit Rudolph over the head with it before the fight spiraled even further from there.
Garrett did not initially make the accusation public after the game. He made the alleged exchange part of his suspension appeal to the NFL in the days after the incident. When that information became public, Garrett said he had intended for the point to remain private but that “I know what I heard.”
Rudolph flatly denied Garrett’s claims that he used a slur.
“It’s totally untrue. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe he would go that route after the fact,” he said in November.
The NFL said they had found no such evidence Rudolph had used a slur beyond Garrett’s claims. Garrett was suspended indefinitely in the wake of the incident and missed the final six games of the season. He was reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday.
Additionally, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended two games and Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game. Rudolph was fined $50,000. The teams themselves were both fined $250,000 and 29 more players were fined $3,507 for entering the fighting area.”