The reaction to the Myles Garrett situation has been nearly unanimous: Garrett deserves admonishment, Mason Rudolph kind of started it but ultimately is the victim, Maurkice Pouncey did the right thing and Baker Mayfield showed maturity after the game.
Well, former New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather has a different take.
Garrett, of course, was suspended indefinitely, at minimum for the rest of the 2019 season, for hitting Rudolph in the head with his own helmet during last Thursday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. The 23-year-old took full ownership of his role in the fracas after the game and echoed those sentiments in a statement released the next day, though he is appealing the NFL’s decision.
Meriweather, widely viewed as one of the league’s dirtiest players during his career, was asked about the reaction to Garrett during an appearance Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich.” While Meriweather believes Garrett went too far and should be punished, he ultimately feels sympathy for the Browns’ defensive end.
“Honestly, I kinda feel sorry for Myles Garrett because everybody’s jumping on his back trying to make him something that he’s not,” Meriweather said. “I kinda feel sorry for the man. He did it … He (has to deal with) the consequences. … I just hate the fact that ain’t nothing happen to Mason Rudolph. Just picture this: Picture somebody holding you, and all you got is one hand and somebody punches you in the nuts and still is attacking you. What do you do? You’re gonna swing whatever’s in your hand, especially in that situation, where you’re not thinking clearly.
“And I just think everybody’s jumping on him like, ‘Oh, he’s such a thug, he shoulda never did it.’ Granted, he shoulda never did it, but, like, you gotta put yourself in his shoes, too.”
Meriweather was particularly perplexed over the seeming free pass given to Rudolph, who only was fined by the NFL.
“Mason Rudolph was trying to jab his eyes out, was pulling on his helmet,” Meriweather said. “He was doing all the same things that Myles did. The only difference is Myles, while he was getting held and getting attacked, he swung back. And he just happened to have a helmet in his hands. So, I feel like if you suspend Myles Garrett, you gotta suspend Mason Rudolph, too.”
Like many, Meriweather believes Pouncey was justified in attacking Garrett after the helmet clubbing. The Steelers center was suspended three games, a punishment Meriweather believes is too severe.
“Everybody around the league saying, ‘I’d go to war with Pouncey, I’m proud of ya,’ Meriweather said. ” … I’m saying that, and I don’t even know him like that.”
Conversely, Meriweather was not impressed with Mayfield, who took his teammate to task after the game.
“One teammate that wouldn’t be wanting none of mine no more is (Mayfield). You don’t throw your teammate under the bus like that,” Meriweather said. ” … If I was Myles Garrett, I would’ve walked into the room, (gone up to Mayfield) and said, ‘You gotta square up right now.’ … You don’t throw your teammate under the bus like that.
” … I think he got caught up in the moment, and I don’t think he meant no harm by it. … If one of my teammates would’ve said something like that, we would’ve definitely had a problem.”
Make of all that what you will. Again, Meriweather wasn’t exactly a gentleman during his playing days, so his comments probably should be taken with a grain of salt.
Nevertheless, a dissenting point of view, particularly from a candid source with actual NFL experience, is worth considering in a debate flooded with so much outrage and hyperbole.