Just one day after getting reinstated by the NFL over the helmet-swinging incident, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett again alleged that Mason Rudolph sparked the November fight when he called him a racial slur.
Garrett told ESPN’s Mina Kimes during an interview Thursday night that the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “called me a ‘stupid N-word” during the Nov. 14 game, which “sparked” the viral moment he ripped rip off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him over the head with it.
“When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away,” Garrett said. “But once he came back, it kind of reignited the situation. And not only have you escalated things past what they needed to be with such little time in the game left, now you’re trying to reengage and start a fight again.”
Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fights with defensive end Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 21-7. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Garrett went on to say that it was “not entirely” Rudolph’s fault.
“It’s definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn’t have been doing,” he said.
Garrett was suspended for the final six regular-season games and the playoffs. He apologized but during a hearing with the NFL to get his suspension reduced he accused Rudolph of using a racial slur to incite him.
“I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension,” he said in November. “This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed. I know what I heard. Whether my opponent’s comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans.”
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) reacts after swinging a helmet at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)
The NFL “found no such evidence” to back Garrett’s initial accusation. Rudolph has adamantly denied ever using a racial slur against Garrett.
“I couldn’t believe he would go that route after the fact,” he said at the time.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.