As was predicted, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked yesterday during his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine about the racial slur allegations levied against quarterback Mason Rudolph, with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett having claimed that he called him a “stupid N-word” during a November contest.
And as was predicted, he gave a deflective non-answer, deferring to the remarks that head coach Mike Tomlin made on that topic when he took to ESPN in order to defend his player. “Coach Tomlin addressed that when he did the interview with ESPN, and the most important thing that Coach Tomlin said was, at this point, that’s all that will be discussed. That matter is in the past”, Colbert told reporters.
The thing is, we don’t know yet if it’s in the past. That’s really up to Mason Rudolph. One of the things that Tomlin touched on during his appearance on ESPN was the reality that the young quarterback could pursue legal means of fighting against the accusation for defamation. He seemed to be in favor of that, or at the very least, would be entirely supportive of his player if he did decide to take that path.
If he should take that course of action, then it’s fair to say that this is decidedly not a matter that is in the past. It’s going to be a frequent topic of conversation. And it’s inevitably going to be a subject during the year when the Steelers and the Browns play each other again.
It’s still not entirely clear why Garrett made the decision to participate in an interview very shortly after he was reinstated from an indefinite suspension, to go on air and bring that allegation back to the surface. He was, of course, suspended for bashing Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.
Garrett claimed that Rudolph made the racial slur while Garrett was tackling him to the ground, after which the quarterback tried to take his helmet off. Garrett then pulled him up by his facemask and ripped his helmet off violently. Rudolph subsequently got up to pursue him again, at which point the blow with the helmet was struck.
We originally heard the allegation after it was leaked that Garrett had made it a part of his defense during his appeal hearing against the suspension. It has been reported that he did tell multiple people on the night of the incident that the slur had been said; however, nobody who was interviewed, either than or subsequently, has come out and claimed that they personally heard it being said themselves.