Earlier this week, Garrett sat down with ESPN's Mina Kimes to discuss the brawl that broke out during the Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland game on Nov. 14. Garrett, a defensive end for the Browns, reiterated his claim that Rudolph had called him the N-word before the physical altercation; however, Rudolph insists he never used that racist language.
"Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur," the QB wrote in response to a clip of Garrett's interview. "This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character."
Garrett doubled down on the allegations shortly after he was reinstated by the NFL. He told ESPN that Rudolph called him a "stupid N-word" as he was being sacked toward the end of the fourth quarter.
"When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away," Garrett explained. "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 re-engage and start a fight again. It's definitely not entirely his fault, it's definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn't have been doing."
With less than 10 seconds in Nov. 14 game, Garrett was seen ripping off Rudolph's helmet and then using it to strike the QB in the head. The Browns star was subsequently suspended by the NFL, costing him the final six games of the regular season, $1.2 million in salary, and a fine of $45,623. Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his involvement.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin released a statement on Saturday in support of Rudolph. Tomlin, the first black coach for the Steelers franchise, claimed he had interacted with several Cleveland players and coaches after the altercation, and none of them corroborated Garrett's claim.
"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 wrote in the statement. "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."