Myles Garrett reportedly said at the appeal hearing for his suspension on Wednesday that Mason Rudolph sparked the Steelers-Browns “Thursday Night Football” brawl by directing a racial slur toward him.
Garrett is serving an indefinite suspension that was upheld at the appeal for swinging a helmet at the exposed head of Rudolph.
NFL: ‘No such evidence’ of slur
Rudolph denied the allegation on Thursday through a statement from the Steelers.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Rudolph’s agent Timothy Younger released a statement calling Garrett’s claim “a lie” and characterizing it as “wild and unfounded.”
Neither Rudolph has not responded to the accusation directly in public.
Rudolph told reporters on Wednesday prior to Garrett’s accusation being made public that he “definitely didn't say anything that escalated it.”
Garrett: ‘I know what I heard’
Garrett responded later Thursday with a tweet stating that he didn’t expect the accusation to be made public, but that “I know what I heard.”
Browns, Steelers players weren’t aware of alleged slur
Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward told reporters that Rudolph is “distraught” over the accusation and that, “I know Mason didn’t say it.”
Steelers DL Cam Heyward was very strong in defending Rudolph.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) November 21, 2019
Said Rudolph came up to him at the end of practice and told him: “I did not say that.” pic.twitter.com/v5Q1lDJhBa
“He’s gonna be labeled for it,” Heyward said. “That’s just not right. I don’t appreciate it.”
Steelers backup quarterback Devlin Hodges also told reporters that Rudolph told teammates he denied the allegation.
The Steelers and Browns play again on Dec. 1.
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