NFL Gives Longest Suspension Ever for On-Field Attack

Browns' Myles Garrett is out for season after hitting Steeler Mason Rudolph with Rudolph's helmet
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2019 12:49 PM CST
Player Who Hit Opponent With Helmet Suspended Indefinitely
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, left, gets ready to hit Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, second from left, with a helmet during the second half of an NFL football game on Thursday in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

It seemed obvious that the Cleveland Browns' Myles Garrett would receive some kind of suspension after ripping the helmet off of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hitting him in the head with it during Thursday night's game in Cleveland. Now we know for how long: at least through the end of this season, including the playoffs if the Browns qualify; the defensive end also won't be able to play in the 2020 season until he gets an OK by the commissioner's office. ESPN notes it's the longest suspension for a lone on-field incident ever issued by the league, which said in a statement that Garrett had "violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent, and using the helmet as a weapon." More on the aftermath from around the internet:

  • Other suspensions: Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game for shoving Rudolph to the ground after the helmet hit, while Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was booted for three games for kicking and punching Garrett after the attack on Rudolph. All three players have also been fined and won't receive pay during their suspensions. Both teams have also been fined by the NFL for $250,000 each.
  • Rudolph reacts: "I thought that was pretty cowardly, pretty bush league," the quarterback said afterward, per NBC Sports, though he said he wasn't suffering any serious after-effects: "I'm fine. I'm good. Good to go."
  • From Garrett: The player says it was an "emotional" game that made him act "out of character," which he regrets. "Last night, I made a terrible mistake," Garrett said in a statement, per ESPN. "I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable. I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward."
  • And from the Browns: There's no pushback on the disciplinary measures from Garrett's team, which says in a statement it's "extremely disappointed" in the 23-year-old's "completely unacceptable" actions. "We understand the consequences from the league," the statement reads.

  • No criminal charges...: Although Rudolph's agent has said his client is "reviewing all options" against Garrett, a Cleveland police spokeswoman says that Rudolph hasn't yet filed a criminal complaint against Garrett, per WOIO.
  • ...but there could be: Several Ohio attorneys agree the player wouldn't be covered by absolute immunity just because he's a participant in a rough game, and they break down the state's definition of assault. One legal question in particular stands out, per Yahoo Sports: "Is the helmet a deadly weapon?"
  • Current and former players react: The Washington Post looks at responses from "the people who understand and accept workplace circumstances the rest of us can barely fathom," and they're not exactly Team Garrett. "Barbaric," "insanity," and "assault" are just a few of the descriptors used. "In the 17 years I played in the NFL, [I've] never been more disturbed by the end of a game," Hall of Famer Andre Reed says.
  • Fan support: On the flip side, many are rushing to Garrett's defense, even turning it around to blame Rudolph for spurring the whole incident. The Daily Dot highlights those reactions, including one from Samuel L. Jackson. "'Cowardly & Bush League' from the dude that started it?? Really??" the actor tweeted.
(More Cleveland Browns stories.)

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