On a Thursday night NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, a fight between players blew up and has become a controversial topic. The altercation occurred when Myles Garrett sacked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, who then attempted to pull off Garrett’s helmet.
Following this, Garrett was kicked in the groin by Rudolph. Garrett then proceeded to chase him as he was being pulled off the ground. Players rushed to the scene, either involving themselves or trying to split up the fight. In a moment of chaos, Garrett managed to pull off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him over the head with it. The physical violence ended shortly after and both players were removed from the playing field.
Clearly, none of the events that occurred were justified and neither player acted appropriately. Miles Garrett was suspended indefinitely and will not play for the rest of the 2019-2020 season. Both teams were fined $250,000 for the events that occurred. Interestingly, Rudolph did not receive any suspensions his despite his instigation and involvement in the fight.
Crime and Punishment
So the question must be asked: Does Mason Rudolph deserve to be penalized for his actions? The quarterback is certainly not innocent. Rudolph will most likely be fined by the league for his involvement. Interestingly, there has been no talk about whether he will be benched during a future game.
Yes, Mason Rudolph does deserve to be suspended for his inappropriate conduct and instigating the issue. However, when determining the consequences of the players, the league used their actions rather than their motives to judge where they had gone wrong.
For example, Rudolph’s only physical involvement included grabbing Garrett’s helmet and kicking him in the groin area. Garrett, on the other hand, reacted by hitting Rudolph over the head with his own helmet. This is seemingly much worse and has the potential to do much more damage.
Actions vs Intentions
The problem with this investigation is that the NFL is judging the physical actions of the players. One factor that they are not taking into consideration are the intentions. This is the only way to resolve the case so that both players get what they deserve. The only problem is that both could say whatever they want if asked about their motives.
Take Myles Garrett’s situation. From a viewer’s perspective, his part of the brawl could be described as an act of revenge or retaliation. But if one were to ask Garrett, he could claim that it was an attempt to defend himself. He could also make the case that it unintentionally got out of hand.
In Mason Rudolph’s case, a viewer may claim that he was trying to provoke Garrett, causing frustration. It is difficult to justify the act of kicking Garrett and say that it was an accident. Rudolph could still claim that the actions were not intended to cause tension. Since one cannot tell either player what their thought process was at the time, finding out their true motives is almost impossible.
As a solution, both players should be fined and suspended based upon their actions. Despite any declared motives or reasoning, Rudolph and Garrett were both guilty of acting inappropriately through physical violence. They may receive different punishments for the extent of their misconduct. It is all up to the NFL to decide their fate at this point. In an ideal situation, both players will receive what they deserve.