Cleveland Browns: Why suspensions from Steelers brawl aren’t fair

Cleveland Browns (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Steelers and Cleveland Browns were each punished by the NFL for a Thursday Night Football brawl, however, the suspensions are anything but fair

Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Maurkice Pouncy have each received suspensions for their role in the big fight in the Cleveland Browns 21-7 victory over the Steelers in Thursday Night Football.

The suspensions are described in the NFL website.  Garrett is suspended indefinitely, Ogunjobi is suspended for a single game and Pouncy is suspended for three games.

These suspensions never are fair but they aren’t random either. In particular, as fans we all will see things either through brown and orange filters, or black and gold.

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In the court of public opinion, it is vitally important who started the fight. That is the precipitating event or cause of the incident. That is actually the childish defense between you and your siblings when you squabbled and were broken up by your parents. “Well, he started it!”

The public tends to support the idea that massive retaliation is justified once an opposing player crosses the line. That is, if an opponent does something bad, our players are justified in severe retaliation.  At the very least, the person who started something should be punished more severely than the person who finishes it.

However, that is not a rule. If it were, a case could be made for blaming the Steelers and Mason Rudolph.

In particular Rudolph did not pursue his grievance with the officials as he should have, and instead chose to escalate the roughing situation into physical violence, and at one point tried to take Garrett’s helmet off. Although others may see it differently, it is very understandable if Browns fans want to assign blame to the Steelers.

But what matters is what happened, not who started it. Punches were thrown, and there is a punishment for punches. Kicking a person with your cleats also brings punishment. However, if you do something that could have literally killed someone, that is a different level.

If you have ever handled an NFL helmet, it is a great weapon. It is easy to see why it is effective to spear someone with the helmet. It’s hard and weighs several pounds, and it is very possible that a well timed blow could be as deadly as a war club.

The league has to address the potential for injury and especially death. It’s totally irrelevant whether an attack was instigated or not.

The actions of Mason Rudolph were probably also out of line and against conduct rules. That also does not matter.

However, the NFL blatantly gives special consideration to quarterbacks. They are allowed to escape tackling by sliding, and they cannot be hit after the play. They also make the most money, get all the interviews and have the most beautiful girlfriends.

Quarterbacks also get away with things that others players cannot, and none of that is fair.  However, all that is also irrelevant. That is just reality of the NFL that quarterbacks are treated differently than the guys in the trenches. But there is no law in the US Constitution forbidding discrimination according to football position. That is part of life in the NFL.

Quarterbacks get treated differently. Mason Rudolph, because he is a quarterback, is judged differently than the guys on the lines.

What we saw Thursday, in this analyst’s opinion at least, was a series of escalating and willful crossing the line. There were several actions from the Steelers that made the situation worse.  However, those factors do not come into play.  What matters most is what actually happened, not who instigated it first.

Those actions that threatened health and well being will be treated harshly. Second, it does matter who it happened to, and if it happened to a quarterback it is much worse than if it is an altercation between opposing linemen.

Hence it is very understandable that Myles Garrett will get a longer suspension than the others.  Mason Rudolph, in this reviewer’s opinion, also deserves a suspension but will be excused because he is a quarterback and quarterbacks are treated differently than other players. That is just the way it is.

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No it is not fair. But it is very understandable what the consequences of The Brawl are going to be.