Ugh so this stupid thing won’t die and has now turned into a he said/he said fight about whether or not Rudolph called Garrett a slur. Presumably the slur we all think he used. Though it would be kind of hilarious if Garrett said Rudolph called him, say, a slur aimed at Asian people.

It’s kind of a pointless debate because as far as I can tell it’s impossible to prove either way. It also feels like it can be true either way. My opinion? Mason probably didn’t say it, but Garrett could have certainly have heard it and I 100% believe that Mason lied when he said he has never used the N-word. He has 100% used the n-word. Look at him. You think he didn’t blast 50 cent from his pristine clean ford f-150 driving around the suburbs with his high school buds? I’ve never looked at a man and been so certain of such a thing in my life. His extremely strong statement to the opposite felt like confirmation.

But I don’t know if he said it in this particular instance, and I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure unless one side comes out and confirms the other. I think there is a chance Garrett might have heard it, but the two of them were scuffling on the ground, fighting, yelling…you don’t really hear things perfectly in those situations. It might have been said and got lost in the noise, or it might have just been noise that reached Garrett sounding a particular way. Neither side has a definitive argument. Let’s break down those arguments because OFFSEASON and I need to keep putting off giving a shit about the XFL.

Argument – Why didn’t he bring up the slur thing sooner? Why did it only become his defense later and not the first thing he said?
Counter-Argument – The fight happened at the very end of the game and Garrett was shuffled off and didn’t get a chance to make a counter statement for a bit, and he does claim he brought it up to the Browns and was going to go to the NFL about it, but the story leaked. This is frankly the strongest argument against Garrett’s side and probably the reason I’m personally most skeptical. However, the reasons Garrett gives for not taking the incident public immediately, whether you personally believe he’s telling the truth or not, seem reasonably plausible to me. He is right that if he used the “he said a slur” argument immediately people would have said he was making an excuse, but when the story leaked, it looked like he was making an excuse anyway. Once it leaked, everything went kind of out the window.

Argument – Why didn’t any of the sideline mics pick up the slur? Wouldn’t the NFL have footage of this?
Counter-Argument – I don’t think the sideline microphones are as good at picking up that stuff as people seem to think. Most quality audio you see get picked up is by players with literal attached microphones or things specifically happening near the sideline. The fight happened in the middle of the field, away from the action of the play. On top of that, we don’t know how loud Mason would have said it, if he did. It could have been muddled and just sound like yelling/banter to a sideline mic also picking up plenty of other noise. You can’t see their mouths for the first half of the fight thanks to the helmets so lip-reading is out. Lastly, if the tape does exist, it is always possible the NFL does not want that audio out there. I have a very real belief that most audio the NFL gets from games is filled with swearing and vile language of all sorts, including slurs. They probably have to edit those mic’d up videos quite a bit to find clean air. If that audio comes out it makes everyone look bad and the NFL doesn’t want that. Just check out what sneaks through from time to time! Also take note of the sound guy there – he’s 5 feet away from Gabbert with zero other players around to muddle the audio, and it still isn’t quite perfectly clear. I’m guessing a normal football game has upwards of 20 individual instances of just Motherfucker. Who knows what else.

Argument – Why would the Steelers defend a player who used the N-word?
Counter-Argument – (I got this argument a couple times when I joked about it on twitter and I don’t know why). It’s not a good look to find out your team has a slur-user on the roster and he’s the QB of all positions. Football teams are a fraternity, the Steelers are gonna protect their guy even if he did use a slur the same way Pouncey went to pound town after the helmet strike. The Steelers have no real incentive to throw Mason to the dogs here because there isn’t any public evidence that he said it and Mason more or less got away with starting the fight so they have more to lose. Again, also, even if it was said, there remains the very distinct possibility that no one else heard it due to the timing or surrounding noise. It was an important Browns home game when the Browns were winning against a hated rival, the crowd was loud.

Whatever the case is, both of them still acted like jerks and I just can’t wait till this gets brought up again for the two matchups this season. That won’t be irritating at all!