Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett issued a statement on Twitter after he told the NFL on Wednesday Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur before the fight during their Nov. 14 game:
ESPN's Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter reported that Garrett told the league office this information during an appeal of his indefinite suspension for his role in a massive brawl where the defensive end took Rudolph's helmet and hit him in the head with it.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league reviewed footage and "found no such evidence" to back Garrett's assertion. Rudolph's lawyer, Timothy M. Younger, also issued a statement:
"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.
"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's suspension was upheld.
Numerous Browns supported Garrett on Thursday, including general manager John Dorsey and wideout Odell Beckham Jr.:
"Since I've met Myles, he's a very straightforward and honest person," Beckham Jr. told reporters. "He is what he appears to be. We all support Myles over here and just praying there's a resolution for what's going on.
"I just don't see Myles as someone who would lie or do anything like that. At this point, it is what it is and we're all just kind of waiting and just hope that justice is served or whatever. Whatever the case is going to be for him."
Per James Crabtree-Hannigan of Sporting News, Rudolph was fined $35,096 but not suspended. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game, and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will sit for two for their roles in the brawl. The Steelers and Browns were each fined $250,000.