Myles Garrett used a lot of words to discuss his assault on quarterback Mason Rudolph. None of them were ‘sorry’ or ‘apologize’. That’s the biggest thing to take away from the Cleveland Browns defensive end’s post-game comments following the incident in which he ripped off the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s helmet and then used it as a weapon to strike him in the head.
“I made a mistake”, he said at the outset of his remarks. “I lost my cool, and it’s going to come back to hurt our team. The guys who jumped into the scrum, I appreciate my team having my back, but it should have never got to that point. It’s on me”.
Myles Garrett’s full postgame comments: pic.twitter.com/zxV5iFwFTO
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 15, 2019
Of course, it’s obviously on the person who assaults another person. And yet you can detect the whataboutism in his other remarks. When asked about what sparked the incident, he simply said that “you just have to go look at it”, as though there is something on the tape that would somehow explain why he assaulted somebody with a weapon.
While he called his behavior “foolish”, saying, “I shouldn’t have allowed myself to slip out like that”, again, nothing that he said during his remarks at any point amounted to an apology, even a general apology, let alone one directly to the man that he assaulted. “It’s out of character”, he said, citing an “emotional game” and said that he “allowed myself to fall into my emotions with the last play and what happened”.
Yet he also said that there were no tensions nor chippiness leading up to the game, adding, “I wouldn’t have any problems with anyone on their team before that”. And the play occurred on third and 39 from the Steelers’ own 17 with 14 seconds left and down two touchdowns. What is there at that point in the game to get heated about?
“It’s embarrassing, foolish, and a bad representation of who we want to be and what we are trying to do with the rest of the season”, Garrett said, dissociating his individual behavior from himself and placing it within the structure of the ‘team’.
He told reporters that he will address his team today, though he said that he wasn’t sure exactly what he would say, beyond expressing regret for doing something that is going to hurt the organization, since he will inevitably be disciplined for it.
Garrett is one of the most skilled, most talented, and most productive young defensive players in the game today. He entered last night among the league leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. He was dominating Alejandro Villanueva, even if he wasn’t blowing up the stat sheet.
Now he’s the guy who swung a helmet at a helmetless player, and it’s going to take a lot of effort and a lot of time to ever move past that. Likely, he will never be able to entirely, and he shouldn’t be able to.