NFL Shoots Down Suspended Player's Claim That Racial Slur Instigated Brawl
Cleveland, OH – The National Football League said it “found no such evidence” to support the claim that Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Mason Rudolph used a racial slur while talking to Cleveland Brown Myles Garrett right before a fight on national TV broke out between the two teams.
Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season after he grabbed Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it.
Garrett’s suspension is listed as indefinite by the NFL as he must meet with the league office before being reinstated.
ESPN reported that Garrett made the allegation of the racial slur during an appeal hearing before the NFL.
Garrett said Thursday he was disappointed the claim he made was leaked to the media but he stood by it, ESPN reported.
"I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension," Garrett said, according to ESPN. "This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed. I know what I heard. Whether my opponent's comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans."
The Pittsburgh Steelers released a statement on behalf of Rudolph denying that he used a slur.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement, according to ESPN. “He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Rudolph’s attorney said that Garrett was lying about the use of a slur.
Attorney Timothy M. Younger, said: "According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him, prior to swinging a helmet at Mason's uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett."
Younger continued, according to ESPN: "The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."