Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph swung back at Myles Garrett’s claim that Rudolph called him “a stupid N-word” before a helmet-swinging attack in November.
“1000% False,” Rudolph tweeted Saturday after ESPN aired Garrett’s assertion. “Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur. This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.”
Garrett, who this week was reinstated by the NFL from an indefinite suspension, said Rudolph used the racial slur as he was being sacked by Garrett with eight seconds left in Cleveland’s 21-7 win.
The two fought on the field after the sack, and Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet. After both stood up, Rudolph charged Garrett, who then whacked Rudolph over the head.
That led to a brawl between the two teams on the field, which led to Garrett being indefinitely suspended, the discipline of 33 players in total and $732,422 in fines.
There were no reported injuries.
The 24-year-old Garrett first made the racial slur claim in November, during an appeal hearing that went nowhere.
The NFL found no evidence Rudolph, also 24, used the heinous language, and Rudolph has repeatedly denied it.
Now, Rudolph could take legal action, at least according to his agent and attorney.
“We waited to hear the entire interview,” Tim Younger tweeted Saturday (part of the interview, including the racial slur, aired on Thursday). “Garrett, after originally apologizing to Mason Rudolph, has made the ill advised choice of publishing the belated and false accusation that Mr. Rudolph uttered a racial slur on the night in question. Note that Mr. Garrett claims that Mr. Rudolph uttered the slur simultaneously with being taken down, and before Mr. Garrett committed a battery by strike Mr. Rudolph on the head with a 6 lb helmet.
“His claim is ludicrous… it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement — in California. He is now exposed to legal liability.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also backed his quarterback, saying in a statement that he “received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions” with members of the Browns organization since the incident.