In the closing moments of Thursday Night Football, Myles Garrett attacked Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. The ugly incident resulted in Garrett receiving an indefinite ban from the NFL the following morning. Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey received a three-game suspension and Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi received a one-game suspension for their roles in the scrum. Everyone in the sports world seems to have an opinion on Thursday night’s incident and Friday morning’s suspensions, and O.J. Simpson is no exception.
O.J. Simpson was pointing the finger at Mason Rudolph on Thursday
On Thursday night, O.J. Simpson took to Twitter to share his opinion on the late-game fight.
“Look, all I know is this,” Simpson’s video rant began. The minute Mason [Rudolph] went after [Myles Garrett’s] helmet, with his foot in his groin, it’s on. I’m hearing all of these announcers saying that Garrett should be suspended, maybe he should. But, when a guy’s trying to get your helmet off your head, and that’s where it started, with his foot in your groin, it’s on.”
Simpson isn’t entirely wrong; Mason Rudolph isn’t completely innocent in the proceedings. He did try to pull off Myles Garrett’s helmet, which is what sent Garrett into a rage and prompted the Cleveland Browns defender to stand up and pull Rudolph’s helmet off by the facemask.
But there are two things that Simpson does get wrong. The incident didn’t start with Rudolph going for Myles Garrett’s helmet; that was an escalation after Garrett threw Mason Rudolph to the ground after he had already thrown a pass. This isn’t excusing Rudolph’s actions, but it wasn’t as if Garrett made a clean play and Rudolph just lost his mind.
Secondly, still shots like these ones from specific angles make it look as though Mason Rudolph was going after Myles Garrett’s groin, but the video at regular speed shows otherwise. Rudolph was trying to kick Garrett off of him as his facemask was being pulled, not aiming for his groin.
Simpson feels Mason Rudolph deserved a suspension, too
In another video posted this morning on Twitter, O.J. Simpson shared his opinion on the suspensions that were handed out.
“Well, I’ve just seen the suspensions that have been handed down from last night’s fiasco,” Simpson said. “It’s justified. I agree with it. I think all of these guys should have gotten some type of suspension. But I am baffled by one point. Why is it, the guy who initiated all the helmet crap, the guy who after they were separated, and Myles Garrett was being shoved away from him, continued the aggression that led to the additional conflict, why isn’t his name mentioned in any of the suspensions? Somebody will have to explain that to me.”
This one is tricky. Myles Garrett’s indefinite was clearly deserved. Maurkice Pouncey throwing punches and kicks in defense of his quarterback after the helmet strike is understandable, but also worthy of suspension. Larry Ogunjobi blindsiding a helmet-less Mason Rudolph with a hit after he was separated from Garrett deserved a suspension. The discipline seems fair.
Mason Rudolph trying to remove Myles Garrett’s helmet wasn’t okay, and it absolutely helped escalate the situation into this chaotic affair. But as an isolated incident, tugging at the back of a player’s helmet after being thrown to the ground late feels like it might be worthy of a fine, but not a suspension. A one-game suspension given the circumstances wouldn’t have been egregious, but it also wasn’t a huge mistake by the NFL.
There is no excuse at all for what Myles Garrett did
People who blame Mason Rudolph for starting the fight are missing the point; Myles Garrett struck a man’s unprotected head with a 4-6 pound blunt object. He could have killed him.
Fan of the eye-for-an-eye school of thought? Rudolph went after your helmet, go after his. Garrett successfully yanked the helmet off of Mason Rudolph’s head, dragging him up from the ground in the process. Had he then just dropped or thrown the helmet on the ground, this story would barely be newsworthy.
Even swinging at a guy with your fist, while unacceptable, is a much less dangerous thing to do than swinging a helmet down on his head as a weapon. Regardless of where you stand on how much blame Mason Rudolph deserves for starting or egging on the fight, there is still no room on the football field for what Myles Garret did. Ever.