I can’t help but wonder if there is any fanbase, organization, or locker room that doesn’t believe that the NFL is specifically targeting them and out to get them. Even New England Patriots fans invoke these aesthetics whenever their organization experiences any adversity. Pittsburgh Steelers fans and players are certainly not immune to this.
Perhaps no organization, and no fanbase, has been more downtrodden over the course of the past two decades, however, than the Cleveland Browns, and boy do they have an ax to grind. Even though their roster has been radically turned over during the course of the past two-plus years, that locker room is still convinced the league is anti-Browns.
Including Jarvis Landry, whom Cleveland traded for last Spring. He quickly became a leader in that locker room, and quickly adapted the requisite us-against-the-NFL mentality that comes with it. He preached that gospel this past week in defending his teammates, drawing contrasts between how they were treated and how the Steelers were treated.
This all stems from one of the ugliest in-game incidents between players ever witnessed on a sports field in recent years, when Myles Garrett struck Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet. While some players and coaches actively condemned that individual act, they all universally supported him and vouched for his character and integrity.
After Garrett’s indefinite suspension was upheld, Landry complained, saying that the process “was not fair to Myles”, via The Associated Press. “I still do feel like the league handled the process too quickly, made a decision too quickly”.
“With the appeal process, you have a guy kicking and punching Myles, and he gets suspended, he gets a game taken off of his suspension?”, he went on. “Then you have Larry who did way less than that. He still gets suspended for his game. So it makes no sense. Then you have a guy who’s involved and pretty much instigated the whole thing, and nothing happens to him. It’s almost like deliberately trying to like mess with Cleveland”.
The difference between what Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi did and what Maurkice Pouncey did is that Pouncey’s response, out of line as it was, came as a direct response to witnessing a friend and teammate being physically assaulted with a weapon.
Ogunjobi’s suspension is still half the length of Pouncey’s, even after the latter had his reduced from three games to two. The former also had his fine rescinded, so it’s not as though he got nothing out of the appeals process.
As for Garrett, there was no way the league could afford to budge on that. What he did, no matter what set him off, is exactly the last thing that the game needs, and they understand that the incident could have been far worse had the blow been struck from a different angle.