Mason Rudolph Lit the Match, Started the Fire, Fanned the Flames, Not Suspended

Pete Smith

The NFL handed down punishments for the actions of three players involved in the brawl between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Defensive end Myles Garrett received the harshest punishment, getting the rest of the season, if not longer, for swinging a helmet and hitting another player. 

Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game for his actions, shoving a player down and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games for punching and kicking in the brawl. Those punishments are perfectly reasonable. The lack of action against Mason Rudolph, the one who started everything that would transpire and escalated the situation is troubling and now raises questions about race.

Garrett, Ogunjobi and Pouncey were all suspended, fairly, for their actions. They also happen to be black. Rudolph, the quarterback who grabbed at Garrett's helmet, kicked him in the groin and then charged him while he was being restrained, received no punishment. Whether coincidence or not, he happens to be white.

It's not a question of over-punishing the three African American players here. It's entirely a question of refusing to hold the one player, who started the entire thing, responsible. And in so doing, it's impossible not to notice his race. 

None of this happens if Rudolph doesn't go after Garrett. That doesn't mean that Garrett isn't responsible for his part or that Pouncey and Ogunjobi aren't responsible for theirs, but Rudolph lit the match when he started going after Garrett. He lit the fire when he kicked him in the groin. Then he fanned the flames by chasing after him when Garrett was being restrained by David DeCastro. To this point, he's not being held accountable for any of it.

The NFL holds the right to carry out further action, but their initial statement here is appalling. The video is freely available and quite clear. Rudolph is getting a pass for grabbing another player's helmet, kicking them in the groin and then chasing after them. The NFL is reacting to what happened without bother to getting to the root of the issue.

Rudolph deserves to be suspended multiple games; it seemed reasonable that he'd get at least one. The fact he's not missing any games and will get to play next week while the three other players will all be suspended is absurd on its face. A fine, however massive it might be, will not be enough.. The person who started everything will be going to be out there trying to help his team win while these three will be unable to helps theirs. That leaves an indelible image.

Everything about the events at the end of the game are awful. Awful for the players, the league and the sport itself. Allowing the instigator to go unpunished doesn't discourage further action or send the necessary message. The league, as it so often does, takes something that should be straight forward and makes it far worse. Now, it becomes a discussion about race.

Comments (292)
No. 1-50
lanshark
lanshark

Clearly, you did not watch the tape... when Garrett's shoulder makes contact with Rudolph's chest, the ball is still in Rudolph's hand. Garrett then spins around to land on his back, with Rudolph on top of him, to prevent getting called for landing on the QB. WATCH THE TAPE... while you are at it, look at Rudolph's RIGHT foot directly in Garrett's nuts. And then do a slo mo on Rudolph's lips after Oganjobi knocks him down. You can clearly see the racial epithet.

So, Rudolph (and Steeler's fans) are perpetuating the myth that it was a late, illegal hit (it wasn't) and that Rudolph didn't use a racial slur. Clearly someone is lying, and it isn't Garrett.

That said, it's still not acceptable to hit someone with a helmet, period.

The_Twelf
The_Twelf

As a Seahawks fan, I didn't have a dog in this race, but I have been disturbed by the way Myles Garrett took some of the punishment that belongs to Rudolph.

If they had been boys on the playground, they would have received equal discipline, but my sympathies would lie with boy who was attacked first, i.e., Garrett.

Further, in the interviews following the game, Garret took responsibility for his actions and was apologetic and remorseful. Rudolph was arrogant and shameful, calling Garrett a coward when he himself was the actual bully. And, of course, Rudolph never apologized for his part in the altercation.

I have to give my respect to Garrett for facing the media with humility. I'll do the same for Rudolph if he ever shows some character.

BigDaddy4bus
BigDaddy4bus

Definitive Video and Analysis

jamiat33
jamiat33

A Black player Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee Titans stomp on the bare head of another Black player and only got 5 game suspension. The player Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode needed 30 stitches and could have been killed with the head stomp with cleats which knock his helmet off. Mason Rudolph needed no medical attention, no external injuries, not sent to concussion protocol even. --In the State of Ohio you attack a retreating person who is been held by peacemaker you can get charged with assault

cheddarthief
cheddarthief
Steelersfan226
Steelersfan226 said: Alright here goes I've keep my mouth shut since last thrusday with the browns vs Steelers bit now im.going to voice my opinion the whole game was bullshit from the opening kickoff you could tell the browns were out to hurt someone it wasnt about winning and the referees lost control of that game so some of the blame should be put on them to and they should be fined look at the helmet to helmet hit on Johnson which knocked him out the game and was bleeding from the ear and the hit on Smith Schuster that wasnt called both are in concussion protocol and probably will miss the next game and then there was the scariest play when that piece of shit scumbag miles Garrett bear hugged and pulled mason down with 8 seconds left and then wouldn't let go so every angle I watched yes he raised his leg does it look he kicked him in the groin no and about the ripping of the helmet it looks to me his hand was stuck and he was trying to get it out then tbh if a man 40 pounds heavier then you is holding you down arent you going to try anything you can to get free yes you are it's called self defense and then what happened next is total bullshit and is no way for a nfl player to act Garrett hit mason on the head with his helmet thank good it was the bottom and not the top if it was the top Mason could have been hurt paralyzed or worse yet dead so hats off to pouncey for sticking up for his qb that's what the o line does for there qb end of rant let's get back on track and go STEELERS

People, please stop trying to make everything racial in nature. The NFL primarily black players. If you think the NFL made this ruling with race in mind, you're just living in the past where race WAS the biggest issue in sports. I think Rudolph should spend at least 2 games thinking about his role in all of this as well, but I can't for a second think that race has played a factor in the NFL's disciplines. Was race an issue that sparked the altercation on the field? Time may tell. But the league sees this as a black eye (no pun intended) on it's product and it trying to set a strong line. I doubt the NFLPA will allow this to happen to the fullest extent as they've levied. I wouldn't be surprised if Myles' punishment is reduced to 4 games, especially if Pouncey's is reduced as well.

cheddarthief
cheddarthief
Steelersfan226
Steelersfan226 said: Alright here goes I've keep my mouth shut since last thrusday with the browns vs Steelers bit now im.going to voice my opinion the whole game was bullshit from the opening kickoff you could tell the browns were out to hurt someone it wasnt about winning and the referees lost control of that game so some of the blame should be put on them to and they should be fined look at the helmet to helmet hit on Johnson which knocked him out the game and was bleeding from the ear and the hit on Smith Schuster that wasnt called both are in concussion protocol and probably will miss the next game and then there was the scariest play when that piece of shit scumbag miles Garrett bear hugged and pulled mason down with 8 seconds left and then wouldn't let go so every angle I watched yes he raised his leg does it look he kicked him in the groin no and about the ripping of the helmet it looks to me his hand was stuck and he was trying to get it out then tbh if a man 40 pounds heavier then you is holding you down arent you going to try anything you can to get free yes you are it's called self defense and then what happened next is total bullshit and is no way for a nfl player to act Garrett hit mason on the head with his helmet thank good it was the bottom and not the top if it was the top Mason could have been hurt paralyzed or worse yet dead so hats off to pouncey for sticking up for his qb that's what the o line does for there qb end of rant let's get back on track and go STEELERS

When did you Steelers fans become such big pussies? Seriously? The whole plan was to hurt someone? It's FOOTBALL!!! That's always the plan. Not to ruin their careers but to hit them hard. None of your crybabies had an issue with Harrison and all the cheap shots he had over the years. Or Hines Ward when he would ear hole guys that were completely out of the game. Now you wanna cry about your guys getting hurt. It's a rough game. No one launched themselves at anyone like Harrison would. Or hit a QB high in the head well after he threw the ball (hello??? McCoy anyone?). The hit on Johnson was by the book a 15 yd penalty. It was considered targeting as well since Damarious Randall was ejected as well. I won't piss and moan about the ejection as it falls to the letter of the rules. I do think he was just trying to dislodge the ball and was not trying to hit him in the head. But he did. So he had to go. And I'm sure he'll get fined as well. The issue I always have with penalties of this nature is the defender's intent. If a DB is trying to hit a receiver and the receiver shrinks down to not get hit too hard and in doing so brings his own head into the line of fire, there is no intent by the DB to hit that person in the head. That's not what happened in this case but I'm just stating intent should be reviewed and taken into consideration. The hit on Ju-Ju was a clean hit where one defender hit him cleanly and pin-balled him into another. The second defender cannot be flagged or removed for an hit that he did not cause. Again....intent is paramount here but the rules already allow for multiple player collisions.

So to your points on the Myles incident. Let me first say there is no excuse for what Myles did. None. You're a professional and you have to control your actions. But your "review" of the play is so full of bias it's almost laughable. Myles hit him cleanly and in the process of him delivering the ball. He didn't know it was passed away. He had his head down under Rudolph's shoulders and yes, was dragging him to the ground. He didn't put his weight on him. He didn't slam him. He used his own weight to force him down. About as text book as you could ask with all the BS surrounding hitting QB's. Mason, being beat up all game and having a terrible outing, took exception to Myles' action and absolutely was pulling at his helmet. This Pittsburgh fan's narrative that he had his hand stuck is beyond laughable. Watch the tape again. He reached for both the face mask and the back of the helmet. He was pissed. Plain and simple. The kick to the groin...I can't say if that truly was a kick or he put his foot up worried that Myles would retaliate. For me, that's a non-issue even though many people who support Myles claim that he kicked him. I don't know. But Myles appears to have taken exception to it as this is the point he grabs Mason's face mask and rips his helmet off. And he wasn't trying to get free. He was furious. Nice try. Anyway, at this point, the skirmish had been under control. Myles was going to get a fine and probably a game suspension for ripping the helmet off. But Mason, who claims he won't back down from any bullies and that Myles is "Bush League" now attacks Myles who has already been removed from the play by DeCastro. It's at this point that Myles strikes him with the helmet and where I have zero defense for his actions. But Steelers fans, don't make it sound like he took the helmet off him with intent to strike him with it. That's not even near the case. All those things that happen after the helmet strike I have no issue with. DeCastro was probably the coolest head on the field. He took Myles to the ground and stayed on top of him to try and de-escalate the situation. Pouncey punching and kicking....I get that. I respect it as well. I would hope my team's players would do the same if it was reversed. I honestly don't even have an issue with Ogunjobi shoving Rudolph to the ground after it was him that was on a rampage and escalated the situation. Cheap? Sure. But probably deserved. It wasn't like he sucker punched him.

So before you go crying a river, take those useless Terrible Towels and wipe those tears. This for Steelers fans has less to do with what happened than the fact that your team is on a down-slide and just lost to a team you've become accustomed to whipping on. Oh, another note. Next time use punctuation. Your massive run-on sentence looks like an 8 year old wrote it. Go BROWNS!!!

Steelersfan226
Steelersfan226

Alright here goes I've keep my mouth shut since last thrusday with the browns vs Steelers bit now im.going to voice my opinion the whole game was bullshit from the opening kickoff you could tell the browns were out to hurt someone it wasnt about winning and the referees lost control of that game so some of the blame should be put on them to and they should be fined look at the helmet to helmet hit on Johnson which knocked him out the game and was bleeding from the ear and the hit on Smith Schuster that wasnt called both are in concussion protocol and probably will miss the next game and then there was the scariest play when that piece of shit scumbag miles Garrett bear hugged and pulled mason down with 8 seconds left and then wouldn't let go so every angle I watched yes he raised his leg does it look he kicked him in the groin no and about the ripping of the helmet it looks to me his hand was stuck and he was trying to get it out then tbh if a man 40 pounds heavier then you is holding you down arent you going to try anything you can to get free yes you are it's called self defense and then what happened next is total bullshit and is no way for a nfl player to act Garrett hit mason on the head with his helmet thank good it was the bottom and not the top if it was the top Mason could have been hurt paralyzed or worse yet dead so hats off to pouncey for sticking up for his qb that's what the o line does for there qb end of rant let's get back on track and go STEELERS

BigDaddy4bus
BigDaddy4bus

Hello All, please review and comment and like the slow motion video analysis below. Case closed.

Bones91
Bones91

1.Rudolph easily should have been suspended for a game. 2. He's he did what everyone who's played football knows not to do: continue a play/fight when your helmet cones off. Dumb ass move.

BigMemphis71
BigMemphis71

This is the exact reason Kaepernick was protesting. The blatant injustice. I fully understand the punishment given to the 3 players but to give a strongly shook finger at the true culprit is appalling. Seeing that the culprit is white adds fuel to the fire. What really pisses me off is after Rudolph tried to tear Garrett's head off, and kick him in the groin, he got up chased Garrett and punched at him again. Once Garrett swung the helmet and hit him Rudolph throws his hands in the air to claim victim! Looks like he won. #pissedfan

rle44121
rle44121

He kicked him the groin and punched him first then he got what was coming to him , it was a honest reaction like it or not the QB started the incident he was the aggressor

Pink69panther
Pink69panther

What started the fight in 1st place? No TV so have to go off FB & YT..

Bomani
Bomani

This is what white privilege looks like , there is no way in hell he should not have been suspended and anyone stating otherwise is a trump supporter.

mbmace
mbmace

Browns fan here..acknowledging the childish and thuggish behavior on both teams. I don't really understand why Rudolph is not being suspended. He should be lumped together with the players that made horrible decisions. It makes no sense

Psiegel
Psiegel

I am a lifer Brown's fan. Yes I agree as much as I love Myles Garrett he should be suspended multiple games. Indefinitely is harsh. Rudolph's punishment should be equal to Myles Garrett not one game less.

workisoverrated2
workisoverrated2

This article is a joke. You Browns fans have no clue. Your sense of entitlement is hilarious. If you were assaulted on your job by someone hitting you with a hard object wouldn't you expect the perpetrator to be arrested. It's not a racial thing. It's a stupid thing. Your team lacks discipline and that stems from crap coaching. Game after game.

Browns32
Browns32

As a longtime fan I appreciate Steelerfan058 acknowledging what we all witnessed on video. The helmet grabbing, kick and punch to the groin then charging a held player should have resulted in a multiple game suspension for Rudolph. What Garrett did was wrong but with seconds left in the game if Rudolph had walked away like a real man we would have nothing to talk about. Is he going to get limited playing time in 2 weeks? Let’s see what happens. Hopefully, the Browns will unite over this episode , win out & still make the playoffs.

Teresa853
Teresa853

The NFL should hang their heads in shame.The players should be ashamed of themselves, especially Rudolph, because he wasn't punished like he should have been. It's a dangerous joke. The NFL loves to hold players accountable for the things they do OFF the field. And when it comes to breaking the law, the NFL likes to play judge and jury before these men have even seen a courtroom. They use the children as their reason. They always say things like... "Like it or not these men are ROLE models and need to be more responsible" Rudolph actually broke the law in front of everyone, on tv. He assaulted another player. Yet he received the least punishment (a fine) You can't have it both ways. I don't like to throw race in this, but you have to. It may not be the reason Rudolph didn't get the same punishment. But tell me, what message does this send to the black kids on the HS football team? Or anywhere for that matter. What does it say to the white kid on the team... feel free to get your punches in because you won't be punished? NFL really needs to think this one through. It's not only about what happened on the field.. its about the message you are sending! This is just WRONG

Steelerfan058
Steelerfan058

I’d like to go back to what we all learned in grade school…whoever threw the first punch, kick, bite or whatever is the most guilty party. Mason Rudolph should be suspended at least the same as his teammate, Maurkice Pouncey, if not more for starting g the whole thing. As far as race is concerned I cannot say for sure if that is a factor, but then again I cannot say that it’s not either! In my, White Republican, disabled Veteran, Huge Steeler Fan's opinion, the NFL in all its wisdom is saying since Mason Rudolph is the quarterback, even though we can see him clearly start the altercation, He is above reproach! No players position should be above reproach in something so horrendous on the field as this situation presents. The players in the NFL are supposed to be role models to future players. Not be little kids themselves and get mad and frustrated because they are losing.

Mkater
Mkater

I'm thinking it is actually racists here, & I never think that way! But after read comments, he'll ya! Mason instigator in this & only getn a fine!? Screw u NFL whoever's, (whoever decided this punishment) responsible!! Pull your head out & suspend Mason the punk!! TOTALLY UNFAIR HERE!! 😛

RussRevellution
RussRevellution

Race baiting BS story. I thought ESPN were the social justice morons. Figured maybe SI was different.

BigDaddy4bus
BigDaddy4bus

P.S. I have never seen a QB react that way.

BigDaddy4bus
BigDaddy4bus

To Cut Off Any Raciest Responses; I am a white Republican

A white man starts a fight and 3 black men get suspended. Let’s review:

The QB had no remorse and threatened to always fight back on national TV. He is a punk and further inflamed the issue. As did others that never really looked at what happened.

There was a clean tackle and the DE started wrapping up the QB before the ball was released.

The QB violently attempted to rip off the helmet of the DE and kicked him in the groin as he attempted to stand.

The umpire never threw a flag on the QB apparently because the QB is protected and can’t be hit or penalized. And the NFL HAS CONFIRMED THE UMPIRE’S BELIEF.

The DE retaliated. A flag was thrown.

The players were separated and the altercation was over until the QB pursued the DE and threw a punch and the DE defended himself with his only free hand. In short the QB DID EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD IN HIS NEWS CONFERENCE. NEVER BACK DOWN.

Myles: Next time just walk away and smile; that will really make him mad.

Gamwill
Gamwill

In no way am I condoning Garrett. But Mason knew how big the guy was when he started this fight. Its wrong Mason didn't get any time off. To me as long as there is still time on the clock it's not wrong for the opponent to be tackled. When the receiver catch the ball they still get tackled until the end of the game, so miss me with the it was only so many seconds left in the game. And Mason ran up to Garrett when 2 players was already restraining him trying to get another kick in that's why he got clocked😂😂

Rogerover
Rogerover

My take. Mason disappointed me with immature reply to reporters And his response to getting sacked by Garrett. Get mad at your offensive line if you don't like unlimited legitimate sacking. Plenty of players like him need to suck it up. I'm white but I don't like victimology which is Mason's hat he is choosing to wear.

Carzar93
Carzar93

Ok 1st off Rudolph started tugging on Garrett’s face mask for tackling him and as far as Garrett pulling Rudolph’s helmet off totally justified both should be suspended a game or 2 but as far as Garrett hitting home in the head with the helmet and pouncey kicking Garrett in the head they should be either kicked out of football or suspended for the rest of the season, these are big men and do real damage when they try to.

Neworthey75
Neworthey75

I'm no football fan but for all you assholes stating that Rudolph did nothing wrong......you are just as ignorant as he is. He threw his hands up after he got knocked in the head after constantly charging at that man. But okay another slap in the face. I see why Colin wouldn't take a knee. The white man needs to be put into the same slavery they try to keep the black man in. Smh.

Spiritof72
Spiritof72

Race Baiting article . Just call it what it is . An NFL knee jerk response to a quick black eye . Why is it shocking that an aggressive induced sport , has aggressive responses to split second morality decisions . We’re comfortable sitting in our chairs making after the facts critiques after watching it multiple times from several angels . Give them an adequate researched fine , then move on . The Players before you , hold you in contempt for your wussafucation . ( is that a word ). This commissioner will be the end of pro football

Nicolanti
Nicolanti

Terrible discrimination! Appalling

NFLDETECTIVE
NFLDETECTIVE

Of course this has to be a racial article written by a pathetic liberal Democrat. It doesn't matter what color you are take responsibility for your actions. You don't strike a players head with anything. What a terrible example this player is to the NFL.

Ann29
Ann29

I agree he should have been suspended. I feel sad that it seemed to be about race. I didn't look at it that way but I could be wrong. I thought it was because he was the quarterback or maybe was smaller than some of the others ....Still hard to justify no suspension

Vlw
Vlw

I agree Rudolph should be suspended. When Rudolph charged Garrett he was being restrained by two Steeler players. He grabbed at him. Are people suggesting Garrett should have stop and reflected on the fact that he still had the helmet in his hand before he swung his only freed hand? Garrett reacted out of instinct If Pouncy gets benefit of defending a teammate then Garrett should d get benefit of depending self.

Bakermayfield
Bakermayfield

Rudolph grabbed at Garrett’s helmet and kicked him in the groin he started it and Rudolph got the worst of it, maybe he should toughen up if he wants to play with the big boys, it’s football let them play, let them fight and may the best team win! #95.

AllNighter34
AllNighter34

Short sighted and ignorant opinion article. Mason did not “kick” Myles, he used his foot push Myles back while he was in the process of getting his facemask pulled off. He was also entitled to go after his helmet which he did, and every NFL player would do that. Myles took it too far when he swung the helmet as a weapon and that’s all there is to it. Mason got a fine for grabbing at Myles helmet after the late takedown. Ball was gone for a full 2 seconds and Myles was still grasping Mason trying to finish the tackle.... why???

Seeyah
Seeyah

Why punish the teams fine the players that would work After all 250,000 would get there attention and I bet it won’t happen again

Raytwzzl
Raytwzzl

IT DOESNT MATTER WHO THE FUCK STARTED IT!!! DAMN SOUND LIKE LITTLE KIDS!!! “HE STARTED IT!”” THE FUCK??! HAD HE KILLED THAT MAN NOBODY WOULD BE SAYING SHIT!! MYLES IS LUCKY HE DIDNT KILL THAT MAN. AND HE IS LUCKY, RUDOLPH ISNT PRESSING CHARGES.

Brushrop03
Brushrop03

Yeah no reason he shouldn't face some suspension time. He immediately went for the other players helmet after a legal hit and then kicked him in the groin area.

Definitely getting the special treatment here. Could be because he is a QB and we know how the NFL likes to coddle their QBs

Batman260
Batman260

Doesn’t matter who started it or who was the major instigator, they are professionals and held to a higher standard. Swing a helmet at a player‘s head who is not wearing a helmet, you should be banned from ever playing in the NFL again.

thenovice
thenovice

It's the defenses job to head hunt as you call it anyone with the ball. As for hitting him late you didn't see a flag for it because he was already in the air launched at him while Rudolph was throwing the ball. As for getting off of him it took 1.3 seconds for Rudolph to grab at Garrett's helmet. Don't justify anyone's bad behavior. Facts are facts. He started the excursion and fanned it like the article states. We may not like the details but those are the facts.

Jellenberger
Jellenberger

Banned for life would be longer than indefinite.....dah

Whatever123
Whatever123

This argument is asinine. This also doesn't happen if Browns defense aren't head hunting all night. It doesn't happen if Garrett doesn't go after Mason way late and not get up off of him. Taking the aftermath out of the equation, Mason did nothing that would be suspension worthy. Learn how to control your own self. Your brown's were winning. Grow up and don't act like a roid rage incredible Hulk and noone gets suspended. 🙄

Jmitch65
Jmitch65

Very reasonable to assert that there is preferential treatment of Mason Rudolph due to color. Why wasn't he suspended? So often you hear people talk about how things would be worse for a white person committing an offense. Well, this proves to the contrary that this MAGA canard is just that. Stop running away from what has been and continues to be a problem to this day.

Bossdubbs
Bossdubbs

I would have knocked his teeth out his mouth for kicking me in my balls.

Realist305
Realist305

You go at a man’s nuts more than once you deserve a helmet to the dome and suspension as well

Cowboy83
Cowboy83

You - Pete Smith are part of the problem. Race baiting is a weak ass way to get published. Shame on you.

Latch500
Latch500

Mr. Smith... I won the bet as to how long it would take until some axe-grinder introduced the myopic topic of race into the brawl by the lake. You even beat my expectations. Screaming that the underlying reason for the supposed inequities of the punishments meted out to the participating offenders is due to the color of the player’s skin is not unlike crying “Fire!!” in an empty theater. Bottom line? Nobody gives a crap!

vgsteeler
vgsteeler

You made it about race by writing this article. Tackled after the throw then Garret was holding on the ground. Might want to include the who play in your description.

Globug
Globug

Garrett is a great player and he is black. Black people wake up.

Bluedog47
Bluedog47

Yeah, Rudolph made Garrett hit him in the face several times....stupid race baiter

Listenlinda
Listenlinda

I think we should start by agreeing that no one was injured. The potential for serious injury was there which is why it can't happen again. Garrett apologized and deserves the suspension. I would take that a step further and suggest he be traded to the Cowboys to fully teach him his lesson.


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