This will come up as dredging up old news at this point, but given the fact that this is the first time the two teams have played each other since the melee occurred, it’s inevitable that we would have been reliving it at some level in the aftermath of yesterday’s game.
The first time the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cleveland Browns, they were used to wipe the floor of FirstEnergy Stadium. It wasn’t a good game at all. And it ended even uglier, in the way that you’re already intimately familiar with, courtesy of one Myles Garrett.
For his actions, the 2019 would-be Pro Bowler (he had 10 sacks in 10 games) was suspended indefinitely, and through at least the remainder of the current season. He appealed the suspension, and it was leaked that during the appeal, he accused Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur at some point during their confrontation.
It’s unclear why this ever came out, other than the fact that it was juicy, but Garrett issued a statement via social media saying, “I know what I heard”. The main argument against him, which was largely disbelieved, was that he never came out and said this until it was leaked through the media a week later.
When many of his teammates were asked about it on the day that the leak occurred, none of them outright came out and said that Garrett had ever told them that, but of course he was suspended quickly after that, so they wouldn’t have had much access to him.
Yesterday, after the Steelers beat the Browns, Larry Ogunjobi told reporters that Garrett did in fact tell him at that time, the day after the first meeting, that Rudolph used a racial slur directed at him, via The Athletic through Pro Football Talk.
Charean Williams quotes the lineman telling The Athletic, “you’ve got to remember, nobody has ever gone through this process before. It’s our third year; we’ve never had something like that happen”. He also said that he feels Garret is “upset people were calling him a liar”, and that “that’s not something to joke about”.
Of course, he wasn’t joking. He was making that argument to try to get his suspension reduced, or at least defined. And as Williams raises at the end of the article, it doesn’t explain why Garrett would a day later apologize to Rudolph if indeed he used a racial slur.
The reality is that we will never know for certain what was said unless one of the parties comes forward and admits that they were lying. It’s entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Garrett thought he heard something that he didn’t. But he knows what he heard, so that’s all that’s going to matter for him and his camp, which as we’ve seen this weekend, is the entire Browns organization, and their fanbase.