Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph is fighting back against allegations that he used a racial slur in a spat with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, calling the accusation “1000% false.”
In a tweet posted early on Saturday, Rudolph responded to an interview Garrett gave in which the Browns player reiterated a past claim that Rudolph had called him a racial slur prior to his attack in a Thursday Night Football game. Garrett was suspended for the remainder of the season after ripping Rudolph’s helmet off his head in the Week 11 incident, then striking the Steelers quarterback with it.
Rudolph fired back on Saturday, saying the allegation was untrue.
“1000% False. Bold-Faced Lie,” Rudolph wrote. “I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur. This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.”
Rudolph also threatened legal action against Garrett, with agent Tim Younger saying they were considering suing the Browns player for defamation.
On Friday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired an interview in which Garrett told Mina Kimes that Rudolph had used the slur.
“He called me the N-word,” he claimed, via Cleveland.com. “He called me a ‘stupid N-word.’ “
The interview came after Garrett had been reinstated by the NFL following a suspension that stretched through the remainder of the season.
The morning after the interview aired, Rudolph and other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers pushed back. Coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement released by the organization that the allegation is not true, noting that he was on the field following the Week 11 altercation and that no one in the Browns organization supported the claim that Rudolph had used the word.
“In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired,” Tomlin said. “I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.”
The NFL also announced that it found no evidence that a racial slur was used, but noted that it did not have any on-field audio that would have determined for certain if it was said. As Cleveland.com noted, Garrett hinted that the NFL would have had audio but was purposely keeping it under wraps. He noted that there were players mic’d up for the game and that quarterbacks have microphones in their helmets, so there is normally game audio.
“So something was said. I know something was said. Now whether the NFL wants to acknowledge it, that’s up to them,” he claimed.