By all accounts, Myles Garrett is a great guy. Smart, articulate, and mindful. A fan sucker punched him a month ago, yet Garrett did not attack him, only called the police to report the crime. Yet on Thursday night, Garrett’s emotions overcame him, leading to one of the most gruesome player on player melees in the league’s history. Myles Garrett received an indefinite suspension, but is out at least the rest of this year and got what he deserved.
You cannot rip a player’s helmet off of his own head and hit him with it. There is no excuse for what Garrett did. Nothing else matters. Whatever Mason Rudolph or Maurkice Pouncey or David DeCastro did has no bearing on Garrett’s suspension. When a weapon gets used against another player in such a shocking fashion, the league must penalize harshly. The integrity of the league is at stake, and Garrett’s suspension is just. Out of character or not, a blatant attack with a weapon on another player is heinous. The ugly scene from Thursday will cause harm to the entire league. Garrett embarrassed himself, his organization, his fan base, and the NFL.
Mason Rudolph dodged a suspension, yet deserved 1-2 games. His anger and actions escalated the situation. But the “He started it!” crowd is being obtuse. This argument doesn’t hold water once you’ve turned 10. Grow up. Mistakes are part of life. Everyone makes them and must deal with the consequences. Adults try their best to apologize, learn a lesson from the error in their ways, and do better.
Garrett doesn’t need anyone to stick up for him. He’s apologized and is likely in agony. He’s in for a long road back to an NFL field, and this will stick with him. Fair or not, he’s now branded a dirty player. The actions from Thursday night could ruin his career. This situation will test his mental toughness and resolve over the next 9-12 months like nothing he’s experienced. Fans and media have and will continue to attack his character until he proves the narratives false. Garrett has to remain contrite, yet cannot let the negative opinions drag on him. His support system will be key. This will be his toughest challenge.
The organization must back Garrett, yet Jimmy Haslam and the power structure he’s set up has shown no propensity to lend support to anyone who belongs to the Cleveland Browns organization. Myles Garrett needs his owner, general manager, coach and teammates to have his back and give him the encouragement he’ll need to return to the field as the same player who left it. He’ll have doubts about who he is as a human being and where he fits on the team. It is essential that this organization do whatever is necessary for one of their cornerstones. While I hope like hell I’m wrong, I have no faith that anyone in Cleveland is up to this task.
Only three years in, Myles Garrett is one of the best football players that has suited up for the franchise since its return. He cares about the organization, the city, and his teammates. He’s the captain of the NFL Waterboys program, an organization committed to furnishing clean water to poverty-stricken East African countries. Anyone who labels him a dirty player or a bad guy isn’t telling the whole story, yet that isn’t our strong suit as a society. It’s easier to see a 15-20 second clip and draw overarching conclusions about the parties involved than to understand them as human beings, capable of good and bad. Myles Garrett deserves his six game suspension. He also deserves your compassion.