Cleveland Browns standout defensive end Myles Garrett met with NFL officials on Monday to discuss his reinstatement. Garrett was suspended indefinitely following a Thursday Night Football brawl with Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and missed the final six games of the 2019 season.
Garrett’s meeting with NFL officials has rekindled a debate that dominated social media in the days following the fight. How long should Myles Garrett be suspended?
Many fans have argued that Garrett’s actions are indefensible and that he should never step foot on a football field again. Others have argued that his suspension has already lasted too long.
Personally, I agree with the latter. Garrett’s actions in the fight are inexcusable, but Garrett’s suspension continuing into the 2020 season would be utterly ridiculous.
Garrett has already served the longest suspension for a single on-field incident and he wasn’t even the instigator in the fight.
After Garrett pulled Rudolph to the ground after a short completion with 8 seconds left, Rudolph grabbed Garrett’s helmet and tried to rip it off. As Garrett stood up, Rudolph then kicked him in the groin, prompting Garrett to retaliate.
Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off his head and that’s where the fight should have ended. The players should have been separated and that should have been that. But Rudolph decided to charge at Garrett which, again, prompted him to retaliate.
Now everyone knows what happened and I don’t really need to tell you again, but I took great issue with the reaction to Garrett’s actions. Joe Buck said it was “One of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a professional sports field,” Troy Aikman referred to his actions as “barbaric,” and Rudolph played the victim and called him “bush league.”
What I saw was a very human reaction from someone in the heat of battle. If someone attacks you, the natural response is to fight back. What was Garrett supposed to do, stand there and take it? Why should he take full blame?
Rudolph’s actions were equally as inexcusable, but he walked away with no suspension and a fine. Maurkice Pouncey, who repeatedly kicked Garrett in the head after knocking him to the ground, walked away with two games and “Man of the Year” nomination.
Garrett’s lengthy suspension does not come without precedent either.
In 2006, Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games for stomping on the face of Cowboy’s center Andre Gurode. Gurode needed 30 stitches to repair the cuts on his face.
In 2013, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith was suspended two preseason games and one regular season game for hitting Richie Incognito with his helmet.
What makes these two events any less egregious than Garrett’s actions on Thursday Night Football? If the game weren’t nationally televised, would anyone be making such a big deal about it?
Now, again, I’m not trying to completely defend Garrett’s actions. I 100% believe he should have been suspended, but Mason Rudolph and Maurkice Pouncey should have a served equal suspensions to Garrett’s. To think that this brawl was entirely his fault is ridiculous.
Reports have said that Garrett is likely to be reinstated after his meetings with NFL officials and I hope that is case. Garrett’s suspension has carried on for too long and he should be on the field week 1 in 2020.