Jace Evans, USA TODAY
Published 12:08 a.m. ET Feb. 14, 2020 | Updated 12:32 a.m. ET Feb. 14, 2020
Newly-reinstated Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett maintains that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph directed a racial slur at him in the closing seconds of the teams’ Nov. 14 game that ended in a massive brawl.
Garrett’s reiterated allegation comes in an ESPN Outside the Lines interview he did with Mina Kimes that is set to air later this week.
“He called me the N-word,” Garrett said of Rudolph. “He called me a ‘stupid N-word.’ “
Moments after the alleged slur, Garrett hit Rudolph over the head with the quarterback’s own helmet as a tussle wildly escalated, a move that earned the first overall pick in 2017 an indefinite suspension.
Garrett had first leveled the accusation of Rudolph using a racial slur during his appeals hearing in November. But the NFL said it investigated the claim and said they found no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his role in the brawl, though he vehemently denied Garrett’s accusation of using a racial slur, going so far as to call it “a lie” in a statement released by his agent.
In the ESPN interview, Garrett alleged again that Rudolph used a slur and that in part led to the escalation of the brawl and helmet-swinging incident.
“When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away,” Garrett said. “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.”
Garrett, who was reinstated Wednesday, was sidelined for the final six games of the 2019 season and forfeited $1,185,534.76 in missed game checks and fines.