Just when the NFL thought it was out of the Myles Garrett business, it could be getting pulled back in.
With Garrett reiterating only one day after his reinstatement that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur seconds before Garrett removed Rudolph’s helmet and whacked him over the head with it and with Rudolph now potentially suing Garrett for defamation and battery, the league may find itself in receipt of a subpoena for any and all evidence demonstrating whether or not Rudolph said what Garrett claims Rudolph said. And the NFL wants to remind everyone involved that it has nothing useful, at least not in the way of recordings.
“As we said at the time the allegation was made, we looked into the matter and found no such evidence,” NFL V.P. of communications Brian McCarthy informed PFT via email after the story regarding a potential lawsuit was posted.
That’s not entirely good news for Rudolph, because the league’s position isn’t that it determined Rudolph didn’t use a slur. The league’s position is that, despite the presence of microphones, there are no recordings of any audio they may have captured. (As noted in November, the league could have launched a full-blown internal investigation into the matter, grilling any and all relevant witnesses.)
“There was no sound recorded from the field during that game,” McCarthy added. “As with every game, there were microphones on the center or interior linemen that help amplify the ambient sound as the quarterbacks were calling signals at the line of scrimmage. But they do not record sound. Microphones are opened from the break of the huddle (or when the center places his hand on the ball in a no-huddle offense) through the snap of the ball.”
In other words, the NFL’s evidence will neither prove that Rudolph used a slur nor rule it out. Which means that, if litigation is going to be pursued, the trial could become a Seinfeld-finale parade of witnesses, with (by all appearances) Garrett saying he heard a slur and every other witness saying that he didn’t.