Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has doubled down on his allegation that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph directed a racist slur at him, and Rudolph has doubled down on his denial of using such language.
In an interview that aired Saturday morning, Garrett told ESPN’s Mina Kimes that Rudolph “called me a ‘stupid n-word’” during the final seconds of the teams’ nationally televised game Nov. 14. Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for using a helmet to strike Rudolph’s uncovered head and wasn’t reinstated until this week.
Garrett first alleged Rudolph used the slur in November during his appeal hearing for the suspension. Rudolph issued a denial through his attorney at the time.
On Saturday morning, Rudolph took to Twitter to deny the allegation, calling it “1000% false,” a “bold-faced lie” and “a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.”
1000% False.— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) February 15, 2020
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
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin released a statement Saturday in support of Rudolph.
“I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on the 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.”
Garrett told Kimes he didn’t want his allegation to go public because he didn’t want to look like he was making excuses for his actions. He also said he was trying to put the incident behind him.
“I know what happened. I know what I heard. People say things when they’re heated or they’re full of emotion. I leave it on the field. He said it, but that was three months ago, four months ago now. I leave it behind.”
That may not be possible at this point. Rudolph’s agent, Timothy Younger, suggested in a statement that his client could take legal action against Garrett.
“Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement,” Younger said. “He is now exposed to legal liability.”