James Harrison Releases Statement

By: Mike Vukovcan

PITTSBURGH  (KDKA)- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is finally responding following the heavy criticism he’s received for strong comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall.

On Thursday evening, Harrison released a statement on his Facebook page.

“This statement will be my only response to the Men’s Journal.”

I’ll start by offering my apologies for some of the words that I said during the four days in May that Men’s Journal was invited to my house to discuss what the NFL has recently been portraying as their attempts at ‘player safety’ rules and regulations, and to cover my everyday workout routine.

I did make comments about my teammates when I was talking about the emotional Super Bowl loss, but the handful of words that were used and heavily publicized yesterday were pulled out of a long conversation and the context was lost. Obviously, I would never say that it was all Ben’s or Rashard’s fault that we lost the Super Bowl. That would be ridiculous. Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included. It was a team effort and a team loss. My teammates know me well, and hopefully understand the things I said were not meant to accuse them of the loss. We all have discussed several things that went wrong in the Super Bowl since that day. What I do apologize for and take full responsibility for is for speaking in such a candid manner to someone outside the team.

I also need to make clear that the comment about Roger Goodell was not intended to be derogatory against gay people in any way. It was careless use of a slang word and I apologize to all who were offended by the remark. I am not a homophobic bigot, and I would never advocate intolerance of gay people.

As far as the photo that was shown on air yesterday, collecting guns is a hobby of mine, and I advocate the responsible use of firearms. I believe in the right to bear arms. I like to go to the shooting range. I like to hunt. I like to fish. I could just as easily have posed with my fishing poles but it obviously wouldn’t be an interesting picture for the magazine. I am not promoting gun violence by posing for that photo. There are also other photos in the magazine story that were not shown on air yesterday – including me with my sons, with my mom and as a kid.

Unfortunately, the above items and other comments have detracted from the original purpose of the story – a position I have been advocating for some time now. If player safety is the NFL’s main concern, as they say it is, they are not going about it in an effective manner. There’s nothing about extending the season or issuing exorbitant fines on defensive players that makes any shift toward the prevention of injury to players.

I believe that the league may have been feeling increasing pressure about injuries and concussions last year, and that they panicked and put rules in place that weren’t fully thought out. I’m not advocating more flags and fines, I’m just saying that the current rules are not completely fair, and I don’t believe in the way that the league is handling their position as overseer of the NFL and the well-being of its players.

As far as the character and reputation hits I may suffer as a result of my comments in the article, I’ll take those hits and more if it brings increased attention to the re-examination and installation of rules and regulations that would create a REAL impact on player safety.


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One Comment

  1. jk47 says:

    lawyer jargon. blah blah blah…

  2. 2059 says:

    Open mouth–insert foot !! He figured out that this season, if there is one, will be pure hell for him. Goodell would have the refs flag him for every move, and the fines would be hefty. It’s gonna cost him dearly for his remarks.

  3. Al Senatore says:

    James Harrison is why the NFL should be serious about,, concussions and brain damaged plyayers.

  4. FREE SPEECH says:

    WOW, lets convict a man for having an opinion. Last I heard free speech was not something someone should be looked down upon for. I guess if your considered a “celebrity” you can’t speak your mind. Sorry James I for one don’t think that way. I didn’t see any of you complaining when the man ran back a 99 yard interception and helped us win a superbowl. Cry babies. I think its sickening for you all to be here doing the same thing to James that you said he has done to others…Shame on you. Its time to grow up and realize that just because someone speaks from the heart and you don’t agree with them, dosen’t make them an evil person. My word this is the United States and I do believe freedom of speech is still a constitutional right.

    1. Common Sense says:

      Do you have any clue how stupid you sound? You’re trying to compare a 99 yard TD (which is what he’s paid for) to bad mouthing his players (in a magazine where he’s touting guns.) This isn’t about freedom of speech, this about having the common sense to know what affects your team and when and where to air your grievances. Yes, he’s free to speak his mind. And if he does so in a manner that is detrimental to the team then the fans/NFL are free to speak their mind as well. So yes, you are correct, we are free to speak our mind…it’s a constituational right.

      1. Hwright says:

        Common Sense Really I am really surprised this didnt happen earlier like during the season! He took way to much criticism during the season and feel he had every right to his comments. No other football player had to deal with what he dealt with! Roger Goodell is a PURE PIG and you know it so blame it on him and ONLY ON HIM! Anyways something had to come to the news to cover up Heinz Ward’s story……

  5. Anonymous says:

    At least he is using top notch speech writers.

  6. BIG White FAN says:

    I have always been a big fan of his. He has spoken his mind before and I respect that. I agree that he had somebody formulate this response but the fact that he said what he said in the first place makes me respect him even more! Go James!!!!! I don’t always agree with the racial comments though.

  7. TheTruth says:

    Good job by his lawyers/writers! Harrison should’ve had them do the magazine interview instead of himself. He may have won an award.

  8. TrollFace says:

    Problem James Harrison?

  9. Kris says:

    While i do believe there is credence to Harrison’s remarks about Goodell, I also believe Harrison’s opinion could have been conveyed in a more professional manner. After all, isn’t that what he is, a PROFESSIONAL football player? While everyone is entitled to their opinions, when you play for a professional team, you do not have the right to embarass your coach, teammates, the owner, city and more importantly, the fans.

  10. lbc1385 says:

    Get over it people. The article was halarious. At the end of the day noone cares. Noone is losing any sleep over it, not even Roger Goodell. I’m more upset with Hines for the DUI. I bet he’s happy James’ article took some attention off of him.

  11. Let it Out says:

    We all say what we feel, why can’t he? F Roger Goodell, he’s a terrible person!

  12. Sandi says:

    Yes, folks our Steelers are human. I read the whole article on line and actually it makes me respect him more. Good or Bad the Steelers make headline news. And it keeps the newspapers, magazines and news stations in business. The bottom line is the lock out needs to end soon. He actually made a comment about Troy but that didn’t make the headlines. Love Troy, Love HInes, Love Ben, and Love James and all the rest. And yes it keeps the internet sites hopping too.

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