Charges of racism have entered the case of Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett in his attempt to overturn his suspension for the remainder of the NFL season.
ESPN is reporting that Garrett during his formal appeal with the league has alleged that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph -- the target of Garrett's controversial helmet swing during a brawl last week on "Thursday Night Football" -- called Garrett a racial slur before the fight broke out.
"Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement.
The NFL upheld Garrett's indefinite suspension on Thursday. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN that the league found no evidence that Rudolph used a racial slur.
Additionally, Rudolph's lawyer took to Twitter to deny Garrett's accusations shortly after the initial report was published midday Thursday.
Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the league last week and fans have been active on social media both supporting and against the Browns' former number one draft pick. Thursday Twitter lit up once again with several accounts posting comments that Garrett is playing the "race card." It quickly became a hot topic on sports talk radio and sports TV debate programs.
Video of the brawl showed Garrett taking Rudolph down and the quarterback grasping at Garrett's helmet. Some players and sportswriters have said Rudolph was escalating the fight by initially trying to pull Garrett's helmet off. The fight escalated from there, with Garrett removing Rudolph's helmet and hitting him with it.
Two other players were suspended for their roles in the brawl. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey received a three-game suspension and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi received a one-game suspension for shoving Rudolph.