NFL: No evidence Mason Rudolph used a racial slur


NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday the league investigated Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett's claim that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph had used a racial slur against him prior to their brawl in last Thursday's game and found no evidence to substantiate the allegation.

Garrett took Rudolph to the ground and the two tussled before it escalated with the Browns defensive end swinging the Steelers quarterback's helmet and connecting with his opponent's exposed head. On Thursday, Garrett's indefinite suspension was upheld on appeal, leaving him out through at least the end of the postseason.

Garrett, however, stood by his allegation.

"I know what I heard" Garrett said in a statement posted to Twitter. "Whether my opponent's comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans."

Rudolph did not address the matter individually, but the Steelers spoke out on his behalf.

"Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. "He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals."

Timothy Younger, Rudolph's agent, released a statement denying Garrett's claim.

"This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett. The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."

For their roles in the brawl, the Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games and the Browns' Larry Ogunjobi one game. Pouncey's ban, however, was reduced on appeal Thursday to two games.

When asked explicitly Thursday if Garrett informed him of any potential use of a slur by Rudolph, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said, "I'm not going to say anything about what Myles and I talked about."

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield expressed surprise when asked about the development, ESPN reported.

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