Editorial: Myles Garrett’s helmet strike on Steelers QB should be investigated | TribLIVE.com
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Editorial: Myles Garrett’s helmet strike on Steelers QB should be investigated

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David Richard/AP
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet, Nov. 14.
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Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, left, gets ready to hit Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, second from left, with a helmet during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7.

It is easy to dismiss some post-game howling as poor sportsmanship.

That call was blown! The refs were biased! The game was rigged!

It so often comes down to the fact that one side won and the other side lost. Identify yourself so closely with a team and it can be hard not to have that feel like a personal attack.

But sometimes the howling is justified. Sometimes there was poor sportsmanship. Sometimes it actually was a personal attack.

Mason Rudolph signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers to do a job and play a game. Football has risks of violent physical contact. It also has rules and regulators because of those risks. The players must depend on the enforcement of those rules when they are broken. It can literally be the difference between life and death or serious, career-ending injury.

Myles Garrett agreed to those rules when he signed on with the Cleveland Browns. He broke them in spectacular, contemptuous, public fashion when he assaulted — and that is the only word for the incident — Rudolph in Thursday night’s win over the Steelers.

If anyone were to go into the workplace of an opponent for a rival business, pick up a tool of their trade and violently smash at their head with that computer or hammer or frying pan, the police would be right to investigate and the district attorney would be right to file charges.

The Browns, the NFL and especially law enforcement in Ohio should be taking a close, serious look at what happened when Garrett slammed Rudolph to the ground, ripped the quarterback’s helmet off and struck him in the head.

There are multiple reasons this was flagrantly against the rules of the game. It should also be obvious that it is against the law as well. Not only did Garrett strip away a piece of equipment designed to prevent the potentially devastating head injuries of football, he then used it as a weapon to deliver a blow to that unprotected head.

And the NFL should encourage outside authorities to investigate. Players have become used to receiving large dollar-amount fines and suspensions. Maybe the only way to drive home the point in this case is with a penalty more serious than half the distance to the goal.

Because if Rudolph was seriously injured in that attack, there would be no way to rewind the clock and replay with lost yardage. The damage would have been done.

Games have rules. So does life. And everybody has to play by them.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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