What was a great night for the Cleveland Browns quickly turned bittersweet Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium when star defensive end Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and used it to club him in the head.
The incident occurred in the final seconds of the Browns’ 21-7 victory over the Steelers. It was the first time the Browns have beat the Steelers in five years, and the first time in franchise history they have beat AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens and the Steelers in the same season.
But now instead of looking ahead and charting a course to the playoffs, the 4-6 Browns are left dealing with the aftermath of an ugly incident that resulted in their best player being suspended for at least the remainder of the season.
Garrett was ejected from the game along with Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who punched and kicked Garrett after the incident with Rudolph.
Here’s the most complete clip I could find. It’s originally from Conor Powers. More tweets and angles on my TL
— Gabriel Schray (@schrayguy) November 15, 2019
This won’t be the first time in 2019 that an incident involving Garrett has required league discipline. He has already been fined twice by the league, once for a punch and once for unnecessary hits to a quarterback.
Prior to Thursday night, Myles Garrett had already been fined twice for penalties he committed this season. pic.twitter.com/3lGV7meQac
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 15, 2019
Most fans, pundits and even teammates have been in agreement that Garrett’s actions were wholly uncalled for, though a small but disturbingly adamant group insists that Rudolph must have done something to deserve the attack.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson seemed to suggest that Rudolph’s intentions were just as bad as Garrett’s but that he wasn’t able to carry them out because he’s smaller and weaker.
So….a QB forgot he was…QB & got jacked with his own helmet cause he couldn’t get the other guys’ helmet off… I wonder what & who the commentator thought was Barbaric? #rhetoricalquestionfornoparticularreason
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) November 15, 2019
While it is true that Rudolph did appear to attempt to pry off Garrett’s helmet after the very late hit, there is no doubt that removing an opponent’s helmet is quite different from using an opponent’s helmet as a weapon.
ESPN personality Josina Anderson, in a since-deleted tweet, implied that Rudolph must have said something offensive to Garrett to elicit such a reaction.
ESPN NFL reporter immediately Tweets defense of Myles Garrett, implies Mason Rudolph said something racist. Deletes it. pic.twitter.com/VPMluuq7E5
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 15, 2019
Cleveland media personality Daryl Ruiter emphasized Rudolph’s role in his retelling of events, strangely calling the quarterback’s attempt to get Garrett off of him a “groin kick.”
Multiple FULL replay angles show:
-Garrett takes Rudolph to the ground (late)
-Rudolph attempts to rip off Garrett’s helmet
-As Garrett gets to his feet Rudolph kicks him in the groin
-Garrett pulls Rudolph to his feet by his helmet, rips it off, hits Rudolph squarely on the head
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) November 15, 2019
While others tried to defend Garrett by implicating Rudolph, the defensive end did nothing of the sort when being interviewed after the game.
When asked whether Rudolph said something to spark the incident, Garrett said, “You just gotta go look at it. I’m not gonna comment on it.”
If there was some outrageous insult said by Rudolph, Garrett had his chance to make it known. Since he didn’t, it’s safe to assume the insult wasn’t there.
Garrett went on to call his actions “embarrassing,” saying, “What I did was foolish and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to slip like that.”
If Garrett isn’t even attempting to defend his actions, why are so many others?
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