James Harrison … When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

~  James Harrison knows how to grab attention, I give him that much credit. He is doing a better job of that off the field than he did in the Super Bowl against Green Bay. Harrison has managed to find his way into the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. Besides insulting the NFL Commissioner again, Harrison decided to throw some teammates under the bus as well with a interview he gave for Men’s Journal that gives a new definition to the word rant.

  At some point a line has to be drawn where freedom of speech turns into wreckless abandonment of all common sense. This was more than a rant, Harrison unleashed an Ether attack that even Nas might not have given to Jay-Z back in 2001.

On Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner >

 “If that man was on fire and I had to p*ss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it, … I hate him and will never respect him.

 On Teammate Ben Roethlisberger >

 “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 interview has even more remarks just as strong as those and words just as harsh, maybe even harsher. Harrison has reportedly came out and stated that his words about Roethlisberger were twisted. I guess it will be up to the readers to make that determination for themselves.

 The question I have when it comes to this is when is enough going to be enough? I make sure that whenever I can in this blog, I refer to the players I write about as professionals. They are professional athletes getting paid to play a game. Baseball, Basketball, Football, it’s all still a game where they are paid to play and be professional about it.

 I understood Harrison when he first began to complain about being fined for the hits he was delivering on the field. I didn’t exactly agree with him, however I could see where it would frustrate a defensive player of the year to have to change his style of play all of a sudden.

 There is a line that every employee has to respect when it comes to criticizing those above them who are somewhat responsible for their paychecks. James Harrison has to realize sooner than later that freedom of speech does not change the fact that he is still an employee and not the employer.

 It seems that he’s more interested in getting his media exposure than he is about just playing the game and representing the Steelers. The game … ahhhh yes … the game that is currently struggling to get out from under an NFL lockout.

 With the lockout still in place, upper management of the Steelers has very limited options as to how to address the Harrison situation. Head coach Mike Tomlin can’t have contact with his players. If the lockout wasn’t here, the argument can be made that this Harrison interview that is about to hit newstands would have had a completely different tone to it.

Food for thought:

 James Harrison plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, an organization known for it’s classy upper manangement and ownership. They don’t have much of a tolerance level when it comes to their players repeatedly moving to their own beat, Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes are examples of that. Ben Roethlisberger even found himself at a crossroads in his career when his off the field issues drowned out his play on the field.

 Harrison is 33 years old now and the NFL will have a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) when the lockout ends that is going to impact every team’s approach to finances. If he’s not careful with his continued approach of publicly attacking everything and everyone he sees wrong with the NFL today, there may not be a tomorrow. At least not in a Steelers uniform.

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