Friday, November 22, 2019

Can Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback) support a claim for battery against Myles Garrett?

If you are a football fan, and maybe even if you are not, you probably heard about or saw the video of a fight at the end of the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple about a week ago.  At the end of the game, Myles Garrett (of the Browns) tore off Pittsburgh's quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet, and hit Rudolph in the head with it.  The NFL quickly responded by suspending Garrett for the rest of the season.  You can see the video here with the actual helmet to head contact here and here

Could Rudolph support a claim for battery against Garrett?

In sports cases, it is often said that players consent to conduct that would otherwise constitute battery if the conduct is inherent to the sport.  Likewise, if the claim were for negligence, it is often said that players assume the risks inherent to the sport.  For this reasons, given the violence inherent to football most of the time players can't support a claim.

But, is the risk of having an opponent rip off your helmet and use it against you like a weapon inherent to the sport of football?  I don't think so.  I think the conduct in this case is so far outside the inherent risks of the game that the quarterback should be allowed to have a cause of action.  What do you think?

No comments: