Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett had his appealing hearing on Wednesday and revealed why he attacked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. According to Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter of ESPN, Garrett claimed Rudolph used a racial slur during the attack. However, Rudolph, who did not speak to the media on Thursday, denied the allegations.
"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 attorney, Timothy M. Younger, was contacted to get his thoughts on the new allegations and he said Garrett's claim is false.
"According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him, prior to swinging a helmet at Mason's uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett," Younger said.
"The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."
Garrett is currently suspended indefinitely for his actions and he will have to talk to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before he can be reinstated. The reason Garrett is appealing the ruling is the fact indefinite suspensions are "not permitted under the league's collective bargaining agreement," according to the NFL Players Association.
Rudolph did speak to the media on Wednesday and he said he should have handled the situation better.
"I should've done a better job handling that situation," Rudolph said per ESPN. "I have no ill will towards Myles Garrett. Great respect for his ability as a player. And I know that if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently.
"As for my involvement last week, there's no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should've done a better job keeping my composure in that situation and [not] fall short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."