Mike Tomlin Rips ESPN’s Handling of Mason Rudolph Slur Accusations

Last week, Myles Garrett repeated that Rudolph called him a "stupid N-word" last season

Mike Tomlin Rips ESPN's Handling of Mason Rudolph Accusations
Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens. (Rob Carr/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / February 18, 2020 9:08 am

During an appearance on ESPN, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin criticized the network’s handling of accusations that were made against Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Last week in an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes, Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett doubled down on his claim that Rudolph called him a “stupid N-word” prior to a brawl between the Browns and Steelers in November.

Speaking on ESPN on Monday, Tomlin said he was “hacked off” at the network and criticized the panel discussion that aired after Garrett’s interview with Kimes for presenting the incident as a “he-said, he-said” situation.

“When these allegations returned this past weekend, I thought it was appropriate that Mason is properly defended. It was a thorough investigation done by us and the National Football League. I don’t think that was represented during that [ESPN] piece,” Tomlin said. “These accusations are serious — not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character but his professional pursuits. Nobody on that field as a member of the Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers corroborated what was said by Myles Garrett … To be quite honest with you, we were a little hacked off by what we saw this weekend. Not specifically from Myles Garrett — he’s been in the lane that he’s in. By what was displayed by ESPN and that panel the way that the situation was presented I don’t think was fair to Mason Rudolph. And that’s why I’m here today.”

Prior to his appearance on The Worldwide Leader, Tomlin released a statement via the team supporting Rudolph and casting doubt on Garrett’s claims.

“I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game,” Tomlin said. “I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization — players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns’ organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.”

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