It’s safe to say that the Browns’ season did not go as planned. A roster that bolstered Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Myles Garrett, and quarterback sensation Baker Mayfield were the talk of the offseason. Lofty goals set by the media included winning the AFC North and career highs for multiple offensive players. That put more pressure on a Browns team that hasn’t posted a winning season this decade than they were ready for. When the team started the season 2-6 it became obvious that the not so distant 0-16 Browns were not ready for prime time. The pinnacle of disaster occurred in week 11 when the Browns were about to complete a two-game winning streak and become 4-6. With 8 seconds remaining Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett got into a physical altercation. Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and eventually hit him on the head with it. The league decided to suspend him indefinitely and the extent of his 2020 suspension is to be decided in the offseason. On November 15th hosts Sharp and Shapiro discussed the incident.
In an interview Freddie Kitchens had this to say:
“We don’t condone that, and Myles Garrett knows that. He’s got to maintain his composure just like he did at the start of the year.”
As far as a statement goes for a head coach this is pretty bare bones. His comments were equally as important as Myles Garrett himself. As a coach, you have to be the public figure to set the tone for the rest of your team. They were going to watch this interview to see how upset he was over the situation. In my opinion, he should have announced that Garrett was going to be given a leave of absence while the team did an internal investigation in tandem with the NFL’s punishment. Clearly his soft-spoken words affected the team. In week 15, Browns players were yelling “come get me” from the sidelines such as receiver Jarvis Landry. The lack of discipline and the mindset of being gunslingers were big reasons why Freddie Kitchens was fired immediately after the season ended.
Myles Garrett’s comments are as follows:
“I lost my cool and I regret it. It’s going to come back and hurt our team. I appreciate my team having my back, but it should have never got to that point and that’s on me.”
This is a pretty fair statement from Garett. It would have been nice to hear him say that his actions had no place in the game, but I didn’t expect him to have a perfect interview considering the on-field drama happened not long before this interview took place. It baffles me as to how it got to the point that it did. I’ve seen players remove each other’s helmets in anger, but it is exceedingly rare to see them used as weapons. It would be interesting to hear his honest thoughts on the situation, but he will never come out about that.
Garrett also had this to say when asked how he felt knowing that the winning game was overshadowed by his play:
“A win is a win.”
“Okay well Myles is 100% wrong. Of course, it was overshadowed. He’s not being honest. The questions were not about, ‘hey big win in Cleveland, they beat Pittsburg, they beat the Ravens in the same year. This is a big win for you guys isn’t it’? Nobody was talking about that. Everybody was talking about Myles Garrett, so he was 100% wrong about that.”
I couldn’t agree more with Shapiro. Garrett was just being ignorant to think the main focus of that game would be them going to 4-6 versus his attack on Rudolph. This was made more controversial considering Rudolph was returning from a serious concussion injury. It was fine for him to acknowledge the win but idiotic for him to think this incident was going to get swept under the rug.
Shapiro applies the same type of scenario in the outside world:
“If I’m walking down the street. If I’m in a bar. If I’m hanging out with friends and I get angry/ lose my cool and I attack someone with an object what would happen? The police would probably get called out. I would get arrested. I would probably go to jail. In my personal opinion he should be arrested.”
I understand where Shapiro was coming from, but the two situations are not really comparable. The reality is that bars are not an inherently physical setting to be in and it’s not a professional environment with its own set of rules. We see people have fights in football fairly often and we can’t arrest players every week for doing so. This was just a special case because helmets rarely come off in these kinds of situations. This was essentially what the extreme case scenario of an altercation in the NFL can look like.
Shapiro talks about how hockey has fights as well:
“I have been an NHL hockey fan since I was 8 years old. There is no sport I love more than hockey. I understand it’s an extremely physical sport. There are going to be a lot of cheap shots and the players protect their goal tenders. I understand that. There is going to be a lot of pushing and shoving. Yes, the NHL has allowed fighting for a long time even though there isn’t as much fighting then let’s say 10 years ago. With that being said, I have always had the strong opinion that fighting should not be allowed in the NHL.”
Fighting has been such an integral part of NHL for so long. Teams used to have designated players sent on the ice to fight. Hockey is a much more analytical game now. Those enforcer spots are now being given to situationally relevant players who can make a difference on the scoreboard such as penalty specialist. The players also seem to enjoy the aspect of fighting in the NHL still and they occur in very controlled environments. These fights are also always between two agreeing parties. Now, if the players association decided they wanted fighting to stop then it would be a completely different situation.
Sharp gives his own comparison as well as his thoughts:
“It would be like you were watching an adult basketball game and a seven foot player took off his shoe and tried to hit someone in the head with it 30 or 40 times. The average NFL helmet weighs 6 pounds. Myles Garret is 6’4” 270 pounds. He was considered one of the best athletes when he entered the NFL. When you watch it he kind of missed him. Had it connected, Mason Rudolph could have had a serious head injury. Had it connected I would have called this assault with a deadly weapon.”
Shapiro comments back:
“I wouldn’t say that a helmet is a deadly weapon. We are in a world where he is not being arrested for anything. You can’t go for assault with a deadly weapon. I think you have to go somewhere in between there.”
It is interesting to think that Myles Garrett would probably be in prison if he had seriously hurt Rudolph but since he missed then he is just going to get suspended. One would think that the intention itself is enough for an assault charge but that is just not how it works in the United States.
Sharp looks to social media:
“I am seeing something on Twitter. People are starting to say that he was provoked to do what he did and people who have been on our show on multiple occasions who are in media in Las Vegas are saying what if he said the magic “n” word. Would that action be warranted?”
“Well number one he didn’t. I don’t even know why we are bringing that up. I don’t care what you say to somebody. You could threaten somebody’s life. You could use the “n” word. That still doesn’t give you a right to physically assault somebody.”
If Mason Rudolph was a racist person, it would be much better for Garrett to address the issue with the league rather than assaulting him. That would get Rudolph banned from the league forever and ensure he never gets paid by them ever again. I don’t know why this rumor was being spread. I think that people were just trying to find a logical reason for Garrett to take things as far as he did. The reality is that he wasn’t thinking in the first place and was acting out in blind rage. I believe he should be suspended for the full 2020 season.