Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett once again accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur against him during an on-the-field altercation that took place between the two players during a Week 11 game last season. Not only did Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin once again defend Rudolph from the Garrett accusation via a team statement over the weekend, he also appeared on ‘First Take’ on ESPN Monday morning to do the same thing.
Tomlin was immediately asked by Stephen A. Smith during his Monday morning interview to give his thoughts on what Garrett said over the weekend about Rudolph during an interview on ‘Outside the Lines.’
“The most recent one this past weekend, I took offense to it, to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said. “When it first transpired during the season, we don’t have a lot of time to pause and fight battles of that nature. We said our peace. We were completely cooperative with all parties involved, the Cleveland Brown organization and the National Football League office and then we had to move on. We had another game of awaiting us and we wanted to be singularly focused. But when these allegations returned this past weekend, I thought it was appropriate that Mason is properly defended.”
“It was a thorough investigation done by us and the National Football League. I don’t think that that was represented during that piece. These accusations are serious, not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character, but his professional pursuits. Nobody on that field as a member of the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers corroborated what was said by Myles Garrett. That was founded by us and the National Football League and at no point during that piece this weekend that was stated.”
Tomlin went on to reflect more on Garrett’s weekend interview and recalled things that transpired immediately after the Browns defensive end and Rudolph had their altercation during the Week 11 game
“Myself, personally, I was on the field immediately after that altercation and subsequently after the game,” Tomlin told Smith Monday morning. “I’ve got a lot of personal relationships within that organization over there in Cleveland. At no point did anyone within that organization come forward and say, ‘Mike, heads up, we’ve got a situation here,’ or something to that nature that you would expect that comes with those type of allegations. So, I fully support Mason Rudolph. We as an organization fully support Mason Rudolph. And to be quite honest with you, we were hacked off with what we saw this weekend. Not specifically from Myles Garrett, he’s been in the lane that he’s in, but what was displayed by ESPN in that panel. The way that the situation was presented, I don’t think was fair to Mason Rudolph and that’s why I’m here today.”
Tomlin was asked to comment on what all he knows about the NFL’s investigation into the racial slur allegations from Garrett against Rudolph and especially since there are claims and statements that some players who were mic’ed up during the altercation that those recording devices were turned off.
“You know, I don’t know the accuracy of that statement regarding the mics,” Tomlin said. “I know that I’ve been in the National Football League for a long time. I know when situations come up, I know the approach that they take in terms of peeling back the layers, whether it’s interviews or research, I wasn’t directly involved in it. Like I said, during the course of the season, we have to continually move on and that’s what it is that we do. We received word from those guys, and we took them at their word that a thorough investigation was done, and no evidence was founded.”
Tomlin also semi addressed implied allegations from Garrett that Tomlin and the Steelers somehow participated in a sort of cover-up during the NFL’s investigation in an effort to protect Rudolph.
“Forget me, I represent the leadership of the Pittsburgh Steeler organization and that also was implied during that interview this weekend that somehow we suppressed evidence or were participants in some lack of thoroughness,” Tomlin said. “And anybody that knows this organization knows what it stands for, understands how the Rooney family gets down from a business standpoint, that’s laughable. We would not participate in the covering up of such issues and we would obviously do what was appropriate in terms of dealing with those circumstances.”
Tomlin make this sort of offseason appearance on this sort of talk show says a lot and it’s a huge statement from him and the organization in regard to how all feel about Rudolph and the racial slur allegations against the young quarterback. Tomlin will gain even more support from his players for making this Monday morning sports talk show appearance.