Football is known to be a rough and tumble sport. Confrontations between coaches and referees, over play calls and altercations between players occur from time to time. The recent on-field brawl between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night added some additional spice to the contest, which the Brown won 21-17.
Myles Garrett, Browns defensive end, got into a fight with Mason Rudolph, Steelers
quarterback. The fight occurred after the completion of a 11- yard pass to running back Trey Edmunds. Garrett broke through the offensive line during the play and dragged Rudolph to the ground.
While on the ground, Rudolph not only grabbed the back of Garrett’s helmet, but also according to reports, attempted to take it off. Subsequently, Rudolph put his knee into Garrett’s groin.
In response, Garrett snatched Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it. Both sides quickly joined the fight and punches were exchanged.
Rudolph’s teammate Maurkice Pouncey was observed punching and kicking Garrett on the ground after he was tackled, (along with the other player) Pouncey, who is a center, said Garrett “could have killed” Randolph. Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi pushed Randolph from behind. All three players were ejected from the game.
At the post-game press conference, Rudolph, who appeared flustered probably from the pressure the Browns defensive line had exerted on him throughout the game, characterized Garrett’s actions as “pretty cowardly and “bush league.” He stated, “I am not going to back down from any bully.”’
Garrett expressed remorse for his actions simply stating, “I lost my cool.” In the opinion of the writer, Rudolph, was frustrated by the intense pressure put on him by the defense. In a statement released on Friday, Garrett, known for his thoughtfulness and intellectual demeanor stated, “I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable... I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward.”
Garrett continued in his press statement: “I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for my actions moving forward.”
The fight resulted in suspensions for players and fines for the Cleveland Browns. Garret was suspended indefinitely, which was the harshest penalty of anyone involved. Pouncey was suspended for three games and Larry Ogunjobi for one game. The Cleveland Browns were fined $250,000. While it is logical for the NFL to suspend and fine players for unruly behavior, it is also important that punishments are fair and measured.
At present, Garrett is appealing his indefinite suspension. The appeal, will he heard by appeal officers James Thrash and Derrick Brooks. Both men were appointed jointly by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The appeal will be heard on Wednesday November 20. 2019.
Garrett’s heartfelt apology has drawn widespread sympathy for his cause. An online petition supporting his reinstatement currently has 60,000 signatures. After all, football is a physical sport and rough contact comes with the territory. However, Garrett, who not only has no history of rough contact and is known for his gentle nature, may not deserve the harsh punishments doled out to him.