Thursday, July 14, 2011

For Once, James Harrison Doesn't Lead With His Head

James Harrison really needs for the lockout to be over.  Having a bit of free time on his hands (like some of his fellow NFL players) has clearly offered him a freedom and a lack of an outlet for his aggression.

In a Men's Journal interview, Harrison made a series of disparaging remarks about Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ben Rothlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, and others.

Of course, now that the interview is getting a lot of press (virtually all negative), Harrison is backpedaling quicker than he ever has on the field.  He has claimed that the interviewer twisted his comments, and that many are out of context.

What context do I need to explain this comment about Commissioner Roger Goodell?
“If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him.
Much of his ire against Goodell comes from the fines Harrison received from the League last year for illegal hits made on the field.  In an effort to stem the rising tide of concussions in a very violent sport, the NFL has started to send a message that shots to the head while tackling will no longer be allowed.

After Harrison was fined $75,000 for one particularly dangerous hit, he was summoned to NFL League offices where he was shown a tape of questionable hits to show him why they were fining him.  Here's what he said about his visit:
“They take 10 plays out of 4,000 snaps and want to know my thought process on each,” he says. “What I tried to explain to Goodell, but he was too stupid to understand, is that dudes crouch when you go to hit them. With Massaquoi, my target area was his waist and chest, but he lowered himself at the last possible second and I couldn’t adjust to his adjustment. But Goodell, who’s a devil, ain’t hearing that. Where’s the damn discretion, the common sense?”
It wasn't just the Commissioner that Harrison attacked. His own teammates were fair game as well.

On Roethlisberger throwing two interceptions in this past year's Super Bowl:
“Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”
The ironic thing about that last comment is that one consistent criticism of the Steelers in the Super Bowl was in how poor the usually outstanding defense played.  Harrison himself has just ONE tackle the entire game.

These are very strong comments by a polarizing NFL player.  Steeler Nation loves the guy, but his emotional tirades off the field make for an embarrassing situation for the well-respected family that owns the Steelers, the Rooneys.  Known for the respectful and caring way they deal with their players, expect Harrison to be called upon their carpet to explain himself for his comments (and the picture below that comes with the interview) once the lockout is over.

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