It was an otherwise bland Thursday Night Football game until Myles Garrett decided to turn it into one of the most controversial moments in modern sports history.
With :06 left, in the middle of a standard fare shoving match with Steelers QB Mason Rudolph instigated by Rudolph, the Browns star pass rusher ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at and made contact with Rudolph’s head.
Now what happens?
It was one of those moments when you see, you know its going to stick around for awhile. In some ways, it reminded me of the NBA’s Malice at the Palace with some obvious, major differences. The common denominator between those two events was it was a level of violence within the competitive arena that eclipsed anything else most of us had ever seen. Obviously fans weren’t involved but it still left everyone who watched it reeling from the sheer unconstrained violence of it all.
So what should happen to Myles Garrett?
The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely, including a minimum of at least this regular season and playoffs.
Is that enough? We need to wait and see what "indefinitely" means but it should be more than the final 6 games.
In my opinion it should be a full 16 game suspension for Myles Garrett. It sounds harsh to say “rest of the season” but six games is the same punishment Patrick Peterson received for PED’s and a masking agent. It needs to eclipse any other suspension handed out for an on field act. A full season seems appropriate for an action that may have literally killed someone if the helmet was flipped around.
In addition to the 16 games, this is the kind of offense that should stay on Myles permanent professional record. Any other action on a football field that would lead to him being disqualified should trigger and equally long suspension. I’m not talking a year long suspension for a personal foul penalty or roughing the passer or helmet to helmet contact. I’m talking about if Myles Garrett ever throws another punch, swings another piece of equipment or conducts himself on a football field in any manner that gets him ejected, even if its defending a teammate that it should trigger a 16+ game suspension.
Where I personally draw the line is I don’t believe Garrett should face criminal prosecution. A legal precedent of that manner could have some seriously negative unintended consequences.
The “if that happened in my job, I’d be arrested” crowd isn’t thinking this through. There are literally dozens of acts on a football field or any sport that if they happened without context in your office would be assault. An errant elbow on a hard screen in basketball, charging the mound in baseball, a blind check into the boards in hockey would all be arrestable offenses in an office. Additionally, things like training camp fights, less serious skirmishes or any after the whistle contact could be exploited by a litigious athlete/agent with an agenda. We don’t need to turn sports into neighbors arguing about a tree crossing a property line in court.
Finally, and I’m dead serious here, Myles Garrett should have to apologize personally, face to face to Mason Rudolph. A good ole fashioned, sincere public apology would go a long way for everybody involved.
Now, lets get back to some football.