Welcome to our latest edition of “They said what?!?” and folks, this one is a doozy.
It’s safe to assume that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not on James Harrison’s Christmas list.
In a recent Men’s Journal interview, superbly written by Paul Solotaroff, the oft-fined Steelers linebacker quipped “if [Goodell] was on fire and I had to piss on him, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and I will never respect him.”
Now, we football fans have already struggled through a summer-long lockout, living in constant fear a football-less winter. All we want is a little love, no more discord (unless it comes in the form of a bone-crushing tackle), and certainly no pee talk.
Nobody’s all that fond of Goodell to begin with, but for Harrison to say he wouldn’t pee on him?!? First of all, I’m not entirely sure the Commissioner is flammable (although he is looking a little formaldehyde-y these days), and second of all, if he were on fire, it’d probably take a little more than a stream of pee, even Harrison’s super pee, to extinguish the flames.
Last year, the league (Goodell) fined Harrison a total of $100,000 for what they deemed violent hits, yet Harrison, along with many others, including the referees who didn’t flag those tackles, felt they were perfectly legal. It caused healthy debate last season, and into the summer, on whether league penalties are greater if a player is injured as a result.
Harrison’s comments caused quite a stir. On the bright side, it stopped us from talking about the lockout for a minute, even though I’m not sure urine talk is a step in the right direction.
And now we have Harrison, who has gone from being the edgy player we all felt was unfairly targeted, to the very possibly crazy guy we wouldn’t be shocked to find with his own reality TV show in 18 months.
Harrison has called the Commissioner a “punk,” a “dictator,” and even went so far as to say his fines were racially biased. Harrison also said he’d like to meet former Patriots-turned-ESPN-analysts Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi in a dark alley after they called him the dirtiest player in the league.
So, mad man or madman, or a little bit of both? Solotaroff does an outstanding job of allowing the reader to decide for himself.
Harrison embodies the Pittsburgh Steeler persona yet one can only assume he’ll become, if he hasn’t already, the NFL’s version of Rasheed Wallace, where a mere glance in the wrong direction warrants another fine from the league office.
All I know is I enjoy watching Harrison play the game. He’s one of those guys you want on your sideline and Steelers fans are more than happy to have him there. Playing in another uniform at this point just wouldn’t make sense.
He’s one of the few players in the NFL you feel compelled to watch every down. And I’m not just saying that because I fear there may soon be a knock on my front door.