I know many of you are already tired of hearing about this but I have been dealing with a health issue this week so I have only now had the time to write this up.
One thing that really disturbs me are those defending Browns’ DE Myles Garrett because Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph made an attempt to grab the helmet of Garrett while underneath him on the ground. Let’s get one thing clear: Garrett took a cheap, excessive shot on Rudolph at the very end of a game that was already won and then lingered over him with his 40-pound weight advantage while he was on the ground. At that point, it was Rudolph, not Garrett, that was initiating a self-defense scenario.
It also seems like the additional element of the disparity in race between the two is impacting the judgement of some. I have absolutely no love for the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers and you will find no rebel flag “memorabilia” in my possession. The bottom line is this: Garrett started it and Garrett took it to another level outside of decency. This is the National Football League and not the chow line at county jail.
I think the NFL’s decision not to punish Rudolph other than a fine was absolutely correct and that it was Garrett who will end up getting off light in the end. He does not belong in the NFL and no one of any creed that did what he did should play in the league either.
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens also tried to make light of the situation in his response(quote via CBS Sports):
I want Myles to understand that the ball is in his court on how he responds to this. It is up to him on showing people and showing the National Football League that that is not who he is. You are looking at a guy who is a tremendous asset as a teammate, in the entire organization and to our fans. He is always out in the community and doing things for the community. He is a good teammate.
He just lost his cool. He lost his composure. A terrible mistake, and sometimes things like that carry on with someone. If the person puts enough time into it, he can make amends. This will never be like it never happened, but people understand that that is an outlier of Myles Garrett and not the norm.
This whole situation reflects poorly on Kitchens’ ability to create a culture of discipline and respect among his players. Also, a player’s level of talent should not have any impact on our judgement of their self-discipline — or lack thereof.
Luckily for Garrett, Rudolph has declined to press any legal charges in the matter(per ESPN). However, I would not be surprised if some sort of civil case resulted from the incident.