If you thought N-Gate was going anywhere, then you’re dead wrong. Unlike most controversies in the sporting world, this one could actually end up in the courts eventually. Very soon after Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was reinstated from an indefinite suspension, as you already know, he made a conscious effort to publicly reiterate, during a televised interview, his allegation that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph hurled a racial epithet at him during an on-field altercation, calling him a “stupid N-word”.
Since then, the Steelers have heavily gone to bat for Rudolph, particularly head coach Mike Tomlin, who took to ESPN himself to unequivocally express his support for his player and his belief that Rudolph has been forthright about what happened on the field.
He raised the point that he was quickly on the field after the incident took place and around after the game. That he has relationships within the Browns organization, and there was never any indication that there was a racial component to the proceedings.
The argument that has been presented is that Garrett didn’t say anything about the supposed slur until he was in his suspension appeal hearing. That, however, may not have been the case, and yesterday former Browns general manager John Dorsey backed that up.
He told the Akron Beacon Journal that it’s “correct” and “the truth” when Garrett said in his interview with ESPN that he had, in fact told Dorsey, as well as teammate Larry Ogunjobi, about the slur after the game.
It was reported last year back in November that Garrett was going to discuss these allegations with Jay Glazer during an interview, but the organization strongly encouraged him not to go through with the interview, and thus it never happened. It was never reported that he made these allegations until it was leaked as part of his suspension hearing. It wasn’t something that he brought to the public’s attention.
In the Beacon article, it also notes that Ogunjobi had previously confirmed to the paper that Garrett had told him about the allegation right away, though he did not confirm that until weeks after the incident, and after it had already been leaked.
Garrett said in his ESPN interview that at the time, Dorsey and Ogunjobi (perhaps others, I suppose), “knew from that night. But I wanted the media to hear about it, whether it was through Jay Glazer or eventually through the aftermath of the meeting”.
It is entirely possible, even plausible, that he did tell people that Rudolph made a racial slur on the night of the incident. The problem that he has is the fact that nobody else claims to have actually heard the slur being made. Merely having told people that you heard it doesn’t mean that it happened. It just means that you didn’t make it up during the suspension hearing.