Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and head coach Mike Tomlin are denying claims from Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that Rudolph uttered a racial slur prior to a brawl that erupted between the two teams at the end of a game last season. Garrett was recently reinstated by the NFL after being suspended indefinitely for ripping off Rudolph's helmet and slamming it down on the quarterback's head.
"He called me the n-word," Garrett told ESPN's Mina Kimes in an interview that aired Saturday. "He called me a stupid n-word."
"1000% False. Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur," Rudolph tweeted Saturday morning. "This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character."
1000% False.Bold-Faced Lie.I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur.This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character. https://t.co/mZcEcC0tCl
— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) February 15, 2020
Tomlin also backed the quarterback in a statement released Saturday.
"I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game," Tomlin said. "I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization — players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns' organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions."
When Garrett appealed his suspension, he told the NFL Rudolph called him a racial slur, but the NFL could find no evidence to support that claim. After the details of his suspension hearing were leaked, Garrett released a statement saying it wasn't his intention for that information to become public.
Kimes asked Garrett why he didn't want his claim against Rudolph to get out, and Garrett responded he, "didn't want to try to use it as justification for my actions."
Rudolph was not suspended for his role in the on-field altercation, but he was fined $50,000 by the NFL. Both Rudolph and Garrett could be seen trying to remove each other's helmets while wrestling on the ground prior to Garrett hitting Rudolph.