Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

Myles Garrett fight overshadows rivalry victory for Cleveland Browns, leads to indefinite suspension

By Pershelle Rohrer

December 1, 2019

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 in the week 11 Thursday Night Football matchup on November 14. Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one in the victory, giving the Browns a record of 4-6 and putting them back in the playoff race. Cleveland’s win over Pittsburgh (5-5) should have been something to celebrate, as it was just their fourth win over their division rival in the past ten years (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019). However, a fight that broke out in the last eight seconds of the game overshadowed anything positive that happened in the Browns’ second straight win.

On the second to last snap of the game, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett brought down Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph well after Rudolph had completed a pass. Rudolph attempted to remove Garrett’s helmet, kicking him while they were still on the ground. Garrett then tore off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him on the top of the head with it when Rudolph followed him to retrieve it, causing the benches to clear. Garrett was ejected along with teammate Larry Ogunjobi, who shoved Rudolph to the ground just after the helmet incident, and Maurkice Pouncey, who then punched and kicked Garrett in retaliation. 

The NFL issued suspensions to all three ejected players. Garrett was suspended indefinitely with a minimum ban for the remainder of the season, Pouncey was given a three-game ban, and Ogunjobi sat out one week. All three players appealed their suspensions, and Pouncey’s was reduced to two games as a result, according to ESPN (“Myles Garrett’s indefinite,” 2019). Rudolph received a $50,000 fine for his actions, and both teams were fined $250,000 each.

Garrett was immediately criticized by the media, fans, and players alike. Troy Aikman, current Fox commentator and former NFL player, called Garrett’s actions “barbaric” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 11). Reggie Bush (2019) tweeted that it “might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field!”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said the incident would become “a soap opera on the outside much like the media has portrayed us to be for the whole season” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 13). The Browns have faced growing pains with a revamped roster in their first season under head coach Freddie Kitchens. The win against the Steelers was their second straight, but losing Garrett for the season could potentially hurt the Browns’ playoff chances as the defense has to make up for the loss of their star defender. 

Following the game, the media took turns speculating about the length of Garrett’s suspension. Many reporters and players called for a season-long ban, some suggesting that the suspension should go into the 2020 season as well. 

Prior to Garrett’s penalty, the longest suspension for a single on-field action was five games, awarded to Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in 2006 for ripping Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode’s helmet off and stomping on his face (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). 

Garrett’s indefinite suspension makes a statement to the rest of the NFL, especially since Rudolph recently came off a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in week 5 that knocked the quarterback unconscious (Seifert, 2019).

Garrett will have to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell before his reinstatement (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). By holding out one of the league’s stars for the rest of the season and potentially part of the next, the NFL is showing its decreased tolerance for fighting and the need to prevent incidents like this from occurring again.

The media calling for the lengthy suspension of Myles Garrett put pressure on the NFL to act. By issuing the longest suspension for a single on-field act in league history and later upholding the indefinite ban, the NFL demonstrates its power to discipline players for unsportsmanlike conduct, which it hopes to reduce in the future.

The Browns and Steelers met again on December 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

References

Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland’s 21-7 win. (2019, November 14). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=401128044

JForsett. (2019, November 15). I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett misses the rest of this season and half of next. It’s an ugly situation, Mason could have suffered a life altering injury. Football is an emotional sport but that was something different. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/jforsett/status/1195215451657318400?s=21

JuiceCheck44. (2019, November 14). Myles Garrett should not be allowed to play another snap this season [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/juicecheck44/status/1195202767494598656?s=21

LRiddickESPN. (2019, November 14). Suspend him for the rest of the season. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/lriddickespn/status/1195200614382346241?s=21

Myles Garrett’s indefinite ban upheld; Maurkice Pouncey now suspended 2 games. (2019, November 21). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28131395/myles-garrett-indefinite-ban-upheld-maurkice-pouncey-now-suspended-2-games

Pryor, B. (2019, November 23). NFL fines Steelers QB Mason Rudolph $50,000 for role in fight. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28146654/nfl-fines-steelers-qb-mason-rudolph-50000-role-fight

ReggieBush. (2019, November 14). In all my life of football that might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field! They about to suspend Myles Garrett for 30 years! People getting stomped out, that was a hood fight! Hate to see that in our game that’s not what pro football is about! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/reggiebush/status/1195202558643490816?s=21

Seifert, K. (2019, November 15). Myles Garrett suspension for Steelers-Browns fight: Why he deserves record punishment for helmet swing. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28083617/myles-garrett-suspension-steelers-browns-fight-why-deserves-record-punishment-helmet-swing

Trotter, J., & Pryor, B. (2019, November 15). Browns’ Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely; Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey gets 3-game ban. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28087446/browns-myles-garrett-suspended-indefinitely-steelers-maurkice-pouncey-gets-3-game-ban

Protecting It’s Players or “Protecting the Shield”

by Nicholas Muhl

“We’ll take a quick break while the trainers tend to the player down.” I have never heard this statement made by football broadcasters more than this National Football League season. As of last week, according to official NFL statistics, 15 percent of NFL players had suffered some type of injury through the first two weeks of the season.

15 percent. That’s 234 players.

If you want to take a look at it another way, NFL teams can have an active roster of 53 players. That means that over four full active NFL rosters had suffered an injury out of 32 total NFL teams. Worse than you thought, right?

This past weekend was highlighted by even more injuries, specifically Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered an MCL sprain and bone bruise to his left knee. He joins starting quarterbacks Drew Brees (Saints), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Jay Cutler (Bears) on a growing list of high profile NFL players who have suffered serious injuries this season.

A lot of sports media coverage has been highlighting these individual NFL injuries, specifically the quarterbacks ones, but coverage of the overall issue seems to be lacking. A simple google search of “15 percent of NFL players hurt” will provide you with very limited results. Outside thinkprogress.org and one Bleacher Report article, the only coverage of this issue seems to be on the many low profile sports blogs. ESPN and other major sports media outlets continue to shy away from serious dialogue about the growing injury problem in the NFL. They rather spend most of their time discussing how long players will be out and how it effects our fantasy football lineups.

The NFL continues to damage control as it faces more and more questions about the safety of it’s players and medical care after their careers have ended. According to a report released by Frontline earlier this month,  87 of 91 deceased former NFL players that were included in their study tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The leading cause for CTE is repetitive trauma to the head. This report comes just a few weeks after the trailer of the new movie Concussion, which stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. A doctor who challenged the NFL’s policy’s and medical treatment of players, specifically after retirement, when he discovered CTE in the brains of several NFL players.

Despite new medical research being done everyday and legal action being taken against the NFL, it seems that the major media still is shying away from the issue. Whether its because the NFL is working to repairs its image in cooperation with the media or because major media decides fantasy football and other coverage brings in better ratings, something needs to change. The media needs to begin asking the question, is the NFL and commisioner Roger Goodell truly doing everything in their power to protect it’s players? Or are they more concerned with “protecting the shield.”

The Curse of the Biebs

By Kaleb Page

Do you believe in curses? Are you one to be superstitious with how certain things have to be? Well in the world of sport, a lot of people and players could say yes to those questions above. This past Sunday a curse possibility was found and yet it has been around for a while.

The Curse of Justin Bieber is something produced by the fan bases who have fallen to the pop star’s black veil cast upon their respective team(s). No different was it in Week 10 of the NFL season where the Steelers fell to the 1-8 Jets 13 to 20. Prompting many Steelers fans to blame the “Bieber Curse” for the loss to what on paper was an inferior opponent. If you didn’t see it Saturday, then now would be the time to fill you in as to how this loss ties in to the “Bieber Curse.”

On Saturday prior to the game the Steelers had a bible study, and guess who just so happened to come along in time to join. For those of you keeping track at home, it would be the one and only Justin Bieber. At the time a lot of Steelers players were happy to have him there as numerous pictures were taken with smiling players next to Bieber. As I saw the pictures on my timeline I let out a huge “nooooooooo” (as a Steelers fan it left me thinking why?; since I know of the curse). Little did they know the curse was planted for it to play out on Sunday.

As the game ended many outlets from CBS Sports, Sporting News, ESPN, etc. were asking is the new victim in the long line of “Bieber Curse” victims the Steelers? Those who covered this topic were quite thorough in their assessment and quite funny as well. Jason La Canfora called it an “ambush” and would be “hard to shake” on the part of the Steelers for the rest of the season. Sporting News did a nice chronological look at the curse so far this year leading up to this past Sunday, showing Bieber was at the Knicks home opener Oct. 29th (Knicks lost) and then the following night he was at the Cavaliers home opener (Cavs lost). Even though these cases are more recent the curse has a line going even further back.

SportsNation sent out a tweet showing a collection of the past victims to the Bieber curse. Like the Chicago Blackhawks who fell victim when Bieber came into their locker room in 2013 to see their Stanley Cup and stood on the teams’ logo taking a picture. Then it could be possible the Heat losing to the Spurs in the 2014 finals had to do with Bieber being court-side at Heat home games wearing Heat gear. Following those pictures, might have been the biggest case of the “Bieber Curse;” Bieber holding a Spain national team jersey. This really had the “Bieber Curse” brewing over this past summer when the previous World Cup champion Spain was destroyed in the 2014 World Cup.

It is interesting to see how people have put this correlation together and make this almost a cult like following to see where the “Bieber Curse” will strike again. For one thing there are those, who after this most recent correlation between the Biebs and the steelers loss, that want to ban the Biebs from their team.

However, undefeated Floyd Mayweather has had Bieber at his past two fights and yet he hasn’t lost. Maybe his time will come too, but for now he is having no effects of the curse.

As to the numerous fans out there nervous to when the “Bieber Curse” will strike their team, don’t look now but he is already visiting your team as we speak.

Harbaugh’s Comments Highlight Sports Journalism Issue

By Nick Muhl

Following his team’s win versus the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh decided in his post-game speech to take a “shot” against their division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens lost last week to the Steelers in a blowout 43-23, where Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdowns.

That was a tough challenge. We have a team coming off a bye week. You had a team in this room off a very physical Sunday night game. You know what I’m saying? Saw what happened on the other part of that, right? Strike that from the record books, ok? Is that NFL? Are you with us or them? Make sure that doesn‘t get…What I’m about to say doesn‘t get talked about, ok? That team beat us last week, okay? All right? Then they went and got their [a-s] kicked this week. This team was in the same game and went and got the job done this week. That’s who you are. That’s who you are. Congratulations” said Harbaugh shortly before he handed out this week’s game ball.

The video of Harbaugh making the comments has since been deleted from the website it was published and from Youtube, but can still be viewed here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2262305-john-harbaugh-takes-shot-at-steelers-tells-cbs-not-to-air-comments

Harbaugh’s opinion on the Steelers is no surprise. Without a doubt the Head Coach of a winning football team who beat the Steelers earlier in the year, believes that his Raven’s are the superior team to the Steelers. However, there is a bigger issue at hand with Harbaugh’s comments.

As read in the above quote, and clarified by the Raven’s front office on Monday, Harbaugh’s comments were supposed to remain off the record. As mentioned by Dan Carson, sports writer for Bleacher Report, Harbaugh “made a point of asking the CBS camera crew in the Baltimore locker room not to air the footage.” Clearly though, the coaches request was not met by the CBS crew.

This arises a very popular talked about topic in journalism, especially sports journalism, what is “off the record” and does it really exist?

“Off the Record” is a journalism concept that an interviewee, or any person for that matter, can make a comment or answer a question privately to a journalist. It is common belief that the comment, or quote, cannot be published or in this case aired on TV. From my own personal experiences shadowing Tom Archdeacon, sports writer for the Dayton Daily News, “off the record” is merely a journalists tool to gaining more information.

While shadowing Archdeacon, I observed him use the “off the record” tactic to learn information from one player. He would then take the information he just learned and create a new question for a new player to get him to divulge farther into the topic that was once “off the record.”

Every journalist has their own code of journalism ethics they follow. Archdeacon’s use of the “off the record” followed his own code of journalism ethics. He didn’t necessarily publish what was said “off the record” but he did use the information to his advantage. In Harbaugh’s case however, the journalist filming the post-game speech did not have the same code of ethics as Archdeacon.

The harsh truth to realize, especially for those involved with sports who are interviewed often like Harbaugh, “off the record” does not exist. In today’s society anything you say can and will be used against you, especially in journalism. No matter the time of day or who you are talking to, it is important for those in the sports community to realize that they say can be published by the media. While Harbaugh and the Ravens have every right to be upset that the footage was published, in the age of social media and constant flow of information being posted and read online, the Ravens and the sports community as a whole need to come to realize the “free-for-all” game that is sports journalism.