Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in a rematch of a controversial Thursday night game that ended with an on-field brawl. While Browns defender Myles Garrett was the one suspended indefinitely after hitting Mason Rudolph with his own helmet, head coach Freddie Kitchens wants to make it known that he believes the Steelers quarterback is at fault. He showed this with a shirt that said: "Pittsburgh started it."
Friday evening, news broke that the Browns coach was wearing this shirt that partially blamed the Steelers for this moment at the end of the first meeting. A photo also surfaced that did indeed show Kitchens in the shirt.
As it turns out, the photo was taken at a theater as Kitchens and his family were heading to watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is about Mr. Rogers. According to ESPN, one Pittsburgh Steelers official said that this move could be viewed as even more disrespectful given that Mr. Rogers is originally from the Steel City.
WE'RE BACK BABY! pic.twitter.com/eGGhheI2gn— Larry (@FeedKareem) November 30, 2019
A spokesperson for the Browns did tell ESPN that the shirt was given to Kitchens by his daughters as more of a joke. He reportedly did not intend for anyone to see it out in the wild, and he understands that it's not a good look.
This incident in question led to Garrett being suspended indefinitely while being handed a $45,623 fine. In total, 33 players, as well as both teams, were fined for this brawl. The league handed out a total of $732,422 in fines.
While the upcoming battle between these AFC North teams will be a talking point due to the previous drama, Kitchens told reporters that he wants his players to focus only on the game. He wants them to avoid the "fluff" that will be surrounding this matchup.
"I want them to go in with one thing and one thing only on their minds, and that is to do their job, and anything that overshadows that in any way is not acceptable and it is not the best for the team," Kitchens said during a conference call with reporters. "I want guys to show up ready to do their job. All of that other stuff is just fluff. It is just fluff to give people things to talk about leading up to Sunday."
Kitchens may have the goal of having his team focused only on the on-field action, that may no longer be the case. The Browns fans are expressing support on social media for the head coach while those that root for the Steelers are calling this a "JV move" and saying that Kitchens should be fired. One fan even called for the NFL to suspend Kitchens.0comments
The game on Sunday will create some talking points, but there will likely be considerable attention paid to this new shirt.
Photo Credit: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty