Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin released a statement over the weekend in response to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett‘s allegation during an interview with Mina Kimes of ESPN that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph used the N-word during their altercation at the end of a game last November.
In that statement, Tomlin said he had “received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions” and he repeated that during an appearance on ESPN Monday. Tomlin told Stephen A. Smith that he thought that it was best for everyone to “shut up and move on,” but he chose to take a different path because he was “hacked off” about the way ESPN handled the Garrett interview.
Tomlin said he thought a panel discussion following the interview presented it as a “he-said, he-said” situation without referencing the NFL’s investigation into Garrett’s allegation coming back with no evidence supporting the claim. While Kimes asked Garrett about the NFL’s findings and ESPN made other references to the investigation, Tomlin’s feeling was that the “way it was presented wasn’t fair to Mason Rudolph.”
“These accusations are serious. Not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character but his professional pursuits . . . It’s been a lot of negativity around Mason Rudolph. He got fined $50,000 for essentially getting beat up. His reputation was tarnished for the allegations,” Tomlin said.
Smith asked Tomlin about the depth of the investigation and Tomlin said he believed it was a thorough one because of how the league has handled other incidents. He also said no one from the Steelers would “cover up” the use of a racial slur.
Tomlin said he didn’t know what other steps Rudolph will take when asked about a lawsuit, but wouldn’t blame him for aggressively defending his reputation in the face of Garrett’s allegation.