Tim Benz: Browns’ Myles Garrett should be suspended for what he did off the field, too | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Browns’ Myles Garrett should be suspended for what he did off the field, too

Tim Benz
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett walks off the field after he was ejected late in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7.

Not only should you dismiss Myles Garrett’s claim that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur. You also should dismiss Garrett’s defense of making it.

At his hearing to reduce his suspension for ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and swinging it during Week 11 of the NFL season, Garrett apparently made the claim that Rudolph instigated that act by uttering a racial slur.

That didn’t work. The NFL couldn’t find any evidence to support that claim. So the league upheld his “indefinite” suspension.

Garrett then issued a statement, doing more of what he and the Browns’ fanbase has been doing for a week on his behalf.

He shifted blame.

See, it’s not Garrett’s fault for making the accusation. It’s someone else’s fault for leaking the accusation out of the safe “space.”

OK. That’s a good one, Myles. Tell me another.

We all know Garrett wanted these new accusations to get into the news cycle. Even if his suspension wasn’t rolled back, at least he could smear Rudolph’s reputation and provide some context for why he lost his mind.

Not meant for public dissemination? Is he kidding? What did he think would happen?

Let me get this straight. Garrett was hoping he’d testify what took place during his hearing, making the claim of a racist statement, and then the NFL would minimize his suspension with no explanation as to why?

C’mon, Myles. Do better than that. If you are capable. Which, apparently, you are not.

How did you think this would play out?

NFL spokesperson: “The NFL has decided to set Myles Garrett’s suspension at just (pick a number) games instead of the rest of the season.

Reporters everywhere: “Why?

NFL spokesperson: “Um. He said that … well … see … it was a safe space so I can’t really say why we allowed the helmet swinging lunatic to play again this year … uh, sorry.”

Give me a break. Garrett had to know that if he hurled this accusation, it was going to become public. Even if it wasn’t publicized by the league as part of their ruling, it was going to get leaked eventually.

And let’s be honest: He wanted that for the reasons stated at the outset.

But here’s where the NFL screwed up. By making Garrett’s suspension “indefinite,” they can’t really tack on a number of games for Garrett making an unfounded claim.

They should. Because what Garrett has done has stained Rudolph for life. There will always be some who associate Rudolph with being a racist. And that’s completely unfair, based on the lack of evidence we have.

The general assumption is that the league will allow Garrett back onto the field after this season ends. If that’s the working definition of “indefinite,” he should then get one game on the sidelines again to start 2020 for advancing this unsupported charge against another union player, previously in good standing with the league.

Because Garrett’s empty charge of racism should carry some weight. It can’t be allowed to disappear into the atmosphere because no one will forget it while talking about Rudolph.

Neither Rudolph, nor his representatives, nor the league, nor the Steelers can disprove a negative. You can’t prove something wasn’t said. You can’t produce audio of an unspoken word.

As Garrett even mentioned in his statement, all he has to claim for the rest of his life is, “I know what I heard,” and that is supposed to be taken as fact.

OK. Well, I heard that before the game Garrett doused a box full of newborn kittens with bleach and launched it into space.

Hey, I know what I heard.

See how this works?

The NFL should pick a number for Garrett’s suspension and stick with it. Then it should tack on at least one more game for besmirching the reputation of a player without evidence.

Oh, and the kittens are actually fine, by the way. I made up the part about the bleach. They’ve happily colonized Mars. All is well.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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