Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett claims he was provoked by a racial slur before attacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in last Thursday’s game, according to a report by ESPN.
Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the league for removing Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him with it in the brawl.
At the appeal for his suspension on Wednesday, Garrett told NFL and NFLPA-appointed appeals officer James Thrash that Rudolph called him a racial slur just before the incident.
Rudolph denied the allegations to ESPN through a team spokesperson. His lawyer, Timothy Younger, gave ESPN the following statement:
“According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him, prior to swinging a helmet at Mason’s uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett.”
“The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason’s integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment.”
On Wednesday, Rudolph told reporters at the Steelers practice facility that he regretted his actions. He was not suspended his for part is escalating the brawl, but could face a fine from the league.