Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was fined $50,000 by the NFL on Saturday for his part in the the brawl during a November 14 game between the Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland's Myles Garrett, who struck Rudolph on the head with the quarterback's own helmet, was fined $45,623 and was suspended indefinitely from the NFL.

Rudolph avoided being suspended, but was one of 33 players fined by the league on Saturday for their involvement in the melee. Twenty-nine of those players were each fined $3,507 for "entering the fight area." 

The fight broke out with eight seconds left in the game when Garrett tackled Rudolph late after a short pass. The two players tussled on the ground briefly, during which Rudolph tried to rip Garrett's helmet off but was unsuccessful. Garrett managed to get Rudolph's helmet off instead as he got to his feet. When the quarterback charged at him, Garrett brought the helmet down forcefully on top of Rudolph's head.

Garrett appealed his suspension, but the decision was upheld on Thursday. During his hearing, Garrett claimed the fight escalated because Rudolph used a racial slur. Rudolph denied the claim and the NFL said they "found no such evidence" to support it. Garrett took to Twitter on Thursday to say he never wanted the allegation to become public. 

"I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension," Garrett wrote. "This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed."

As for Rudolph's denial and the NFL's position that they have no evidence of the slur, Garrett wrote, "I know what I heard." 

"Whether my opponent's comment was borne out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say," the statement continued. "But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact that this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans."

First published on November 23, 2019 / 9:16 PM