July 14, 2011

Is James Harrison smart or a complete tool?

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

Before the title of this post confuses you into thinking that I believe that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison could actually be smart for ripping his own teammates after making it to the Super Bowl last season, I’ll just settle that right now: James Harrison is an idiot for ripping Rashard Mendenhall – who had only two fumbles all regular season – and Ben Roethlisberger – who has already won two Super Bowls for the Steelers. You simply don’t throw your teammates under the bus, ever. These are supposed to be your brothers on the field and if they can’t trust you, how well can everybody play together?

And the ridiculous mandatory story about how Harrison was either misquoted or he was taken out of context is a load of crap. If he was misquoted in this magazine piece he could sue, which he isn’t. Also, in what context could calling Mendenhall a “fumble machine,” or saying that Big Ben should “hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning,” be taken lightly? Those are pretty cutting words in any context.

But what really has people fired up is Harrison’s quotes about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who fined the Steeler numerous times for numerous violent hits.

“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.”

That was Harrison on Goodell. Pretty harsh, right?

Well, Harrison goes on to say how Goodell is stupid, the devil, somehow both a puppet and a dictator and essentially racist. Sounds like somebody has some issues with management.

The racist part is especially interesting. Here’s what Harrison had to say: “I slammed Vince Young on his head and paid five grand, but just touched Drew Brees and that was 20,” Harrison said. “You think black players don’t see this s— and lose all respect for Goodell?”

There’s a good reason why the Brees fine was heavier than the Young fine: The hit on the Titans QB came first and fines in the NFL escalate for repeat offenders like Harrison. It had nothing to do with the calibre of player being hit or the colour of their skin.

But wait a second, the title of this post ponders if Harrison is actually smart for going on this rant. Where’s that part of this post? Glad you asked.

The timing on this piece is absolutely perfect. There’s no way that Roger Goodell and the NFL could possibly fine or discipline Harrison for ripping him and the league: The players are locked out! What are they going to do? Take away a game cheque that he wasn’t already getting? Suspend him from a game or training camp that isn’t taking place?

While I wholeheartedly disagree with Harrison venting about his team and the NFL to a magazine, you can’t argue that he sure did time it right.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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