Despite some outside calls to do so, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph is not planning to take any legal action against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett after their ugly fight on Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
He will instead leave the matter up to the NFL.
Garrett sparked a brawl in the final seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 win against Pittsburgh on Thursday. He ripped Rudolph’s helmet off his head, swung that helmet at him and hit Rudolph in the head with it.
Garrett has since apologized. The NFL announced Friday that it has suspended Garrett indefinitely, at least through the end of the season, along with a handful of other fines and suspensions stemming from the incident — which sparked widespread backlash both from across the sports world and from inside the Browns’ own locker room.
Rudolph called Garrett out after the game, too, calling his actions “a total coward move.” The NFL has not punished Rudolph for his role in the altercation, and some — including multiple NFL Network analysts — don’t believe he’s received enough blame.
While the incident took place during a football game — and NFL players have rarely been charged with crimes for on-field acts, if ever — many interpreted his actions on the field as an assault. Had the fight taken place anywhere other than during a football game, it’s almost certain that Garrett would be facing much worse than just a suspension.
“Technically, swinging an object of that form could constitute a felonious assault,” an Ohio criminal defense attorney told Yahoo Sports on Friday.
With Rudolph declining to file a civil lawsuit, the only way Garrett can now face legal consequences is if a Cleveland prosecutor decides to file criminal charges against him. The Cleveland Police Department told Yahoo Sports on Friday morning that it has not launched in investigation into the incident, however, and there is very little precedent in the sport when it comes to charging athletes for on-field acts.
Though several Ohio legal experts agree that Garrett’s actions could constitute an assault, they don’t believe any criminal charges will end up being filed against him.
“[The incident] is not part of the consensual physical contact players assume when they walk onto the field,” Ohio attorney Brad Koffell told Yahoo Sports. “Will charges be filed? Unlikely.”
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