For the last couple of weeks, Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens has had to walk a real fine line. He had to be supportive of Myles Garrett after the now-infamous brawl without appearing to condone what he did.
As the head coach, it was his job to cool things down so the focus could be put on football again. But the t-shirt he wore while seeing a movie with his family Friday night did the exact opposite.
There is no condoning what Myles Garrett did, but there are many—especially in the Cleveland area – that think Mason Rudolph started it. Rudolph could be seen trying to tear Garrett’s helmet off and then hit twice below the belt. If you believe Garrett, Rudolph may have also used the one word no white man can ever say.
To drive that point home, a local company created a t-shirt featuring ‘Pittsburgh started it.’
As luck would have it, Freddie Kitchens’ daughter picked one up for her dad. Being the good dad that he is, he wore it out Friday night while seeing a movie with the family, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.”
It probably seemed like such a harmless thing to do. His daughter gives it to him. Even though it was just a joke, he knows it will make her smile if he wears it—so he did. He didn’t plan on anyone seeing it. But as fans will often do, they noticed Kitchens and his unique shirt.
Once he took one picture with a fan, that was it.
Does it look good? No, and Kitchens is aware of that. Myles Garrett is suspended. Mason Rudolph isn’t pressing charges. Can’t we just let it all go? Maybe we all need to just turn to some of the lessons Mr. Rogers tried to teach:
Does the shirt mean anything, or should people read into it? Of course, not. But they did.
The mixed reactions on social media are about what you would expect. Many fans loved it and applauded him for backing his players (and winning the locker room). But many more called the move dumb and said his focus should be on the game this week.
Wearing the shirt did run counter to what Kitchens said he wanted his players to do ahead of Sunday’s rematch with the Steelers, via ESPN:
I want them to go in with one thing and one thing only on their minds, and that is to do their job and anything that overshadows that in any way is not acceptable and it is not the best for the team. I want guys to show up ready to do their job. All of that other stuff is just fluff. It is just fluff to give people things to talk about leading up to Sunday.
Of course, the best and most ridiculous reaction came from a Pittsburgh official, via Adam Schefter and ESPN. According to this person, wearing the shirt to see the Mr. Rogers movie was disrespectful to Mr. Rogers since he was from the Pittsburgh-area.
If you haven’t started laughing yet, take this time to go ahead and do so.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC