In the August issue of Men's Journal, Harrison refers to the NFL commissioner as a "crook," "devil" and "stupid," among other derogatory names and calls out his quarterback for throwing two interceptions in February's Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The Goodell comments are the same sort of stuff the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker has been saying about the commissioner since he became the poster child for the NFL's recent crackdown on dangerous hits. The Roethlisberger comments are on a new level, even for the outspoken Harrison.
So deep is the linebacker's loathing for the league's commissioner that he says he'd ignore the tenets of fire prevention if he encountered an enflamed Goodell.
"If that man was on fire and I had to [urinate] to put him out, I wouldn't do it," Harrison told Men's Journal. "I hate him and will never respect him."
Harrison has made idle threats before, like when he said he was going to retire after being levied a $75,000 fine because he no longer knew the rules of football. That charade lasted a few hours, so I'm nearly certain that Harrison would at least yell "stop, drop and roll" if he encountered Goodell on fire.
If the Goodell comments were more of the same, the shots at Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall were surprising.
"Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again," Harrison said about Roethlisberger. "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."
A reasonable interpretation of those comments could be that Harrison is simply saying that Roethlisberger's style is to run a ball-control offense rather than Manning's more aggressive, downfield approach. When you're James Harrison, though, you lose the right to have your words parsed. And you also get it pointed out that you had one tackle in the Super Bowl and played on a defense that got shredded by Aaron Rodgers.
The 2008 AP defensive player of the year also called Goodell a "dictator" and a "puppet," two descriptions which should seemingly contradict each other. For his sake, I hope Goodell is more dictator than puppet because the materials made to create the latter would make it exponentially more flammable.
Another Harrison jab: "Why don't you quit and do something else, like start your own league in flag football?"
Silly James. Why would Goodell quit and start his own flag football league when he's worked so hard to turn the NFL into one? That's like if I said to Harrison "why don't you quit and go burn bridges somewhere else, like in your own flag football league?" It would be insane to waste all the effort he's spent alienating executives, colleagues, media personalities and the president of the United States and simply start over. Flame on!
Update: Mendenhall responded to Harrison's comments on Twitter: "I dont have a problem with what@jharrison9292 said because I know him. But I want you guys 2 check this out: [he linked to NFL rushing stats]."
Harrison can get away with comments like this because he's James Harrison and everybody is used to his ridiculousness. The thing about being controversial is that the more you are, the less you become.
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