• Exclusive: Steelers LB James Harrison issues apology

    Breaking: Here is James Harrison's entire statement which offers an apology:

    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.

    Comments 27 Comments
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      That's a good get, there, JoJo. Nice work as always.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Well, that certainly SOUNDS like James Harrison.
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      I grow weary of athletes making ridiculous, inflammatory statements, then, and only because of the PR people, issuing "the apology", citing words like misconstrued, out of context, or out of proportion. The man is an obvious moron, and this "apology" changes nothing.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      My favorite part is the 'I meant it, but used the wrong word' apology regarding his Goodell comment.
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      My favorite part is the 'I meant it, but used the wrong word' apology regarding his Goodell comment.
      Yeah, that was a nice one.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      Interesting in his apology there was no remorse regarding his over the top attack of Goodell. All he referenced was the use of a slang gay word not meaning to be derogatory. Nothing about the personal attack, including calling him the devil. If any one of us said the things about our employer that he did, we would be out of a job. He will be hit hard in the pocketbook when the NFL is back to work for his rant on the Commissioner. It is unfortunate for him that a player who has been cut 4 times showed the perserverance and determination to become NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be remembered more for the dumb things he said.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      If any one of us said the things about our employer that he did, we would be out of a job.
      Disagree. It depends how good you are at your job and how Quantifiable "good" is.

      If you are the Top Salesman and consistantly at 200% of quota, you probably can say a good deal.

      If you are the star of a Top Rated TV Sitcom, you can probably say a good deal.

      If, however, you are middle management in a non-quantitative setting, you probably can't say squat.
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      While I don't necessarily agree with Harrison words, I do give him credit from not backing down from what he said completely. Basically he said that he could of phrased it better but his points still stand. In an over PC era,it's interesting and hope he doesn't stop.

      That all being said, will be interesting to see if he faces any punishment for what he said when Lockout is over..personally I don't think he should because while what he said was def not the "best" thing in the world, I can't fault anyone for just expressing their opinion even if I do think it was misguided to say the least.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Harrison has always had a bit of "foot in mouth" disease. I don't think it's because he's a bad guy just sometimes that filter between the brain and the mouth doesn't work. He's an excitable, emotional guy and talks before he thinks. The fire that makes him a great football players also makes him a tad bit undiplomatic (just a tad).

      His animosity toward Goodell may or may not be justified but displaying it so openly sure isn't going to help him next time he ear-holes someone on the field. His grand-kids will be paying that fine.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      Good Work on Getting this Josina! Love the hard work during the offseason.

      I don't like how James said things and that he was taking this to the streets instead of keeping it in the locker room. I think folks like James has pented up energy about how they feel and going to the media is how they possibly may feel a little better....I don't know. One thing for sure though, he is going to have discipline from the Steelers.

      Almost overnight, folks are going Ape Snot with the Mendenhall comments, Ward double arrest (despite the first being cleared) and the Harrison rant. This is a Proud Team and they are not going to stand for this. We'll see how the Rooney Family handle this Especially in the year after a Super Bowl loss.
    1. PlayerPerspectiveDotCom's Avatar
      This is actually the 2nd long form apology Harrison has written to clarify statements. When he called NFL leadership idiots he wrote a blog post about it. It's the only post on his blog, I really thought that was the end of all this. As far as this latest ranting is concerned, he really needs to learn to express himself without name calling. I don't agree that the NFL hit rules are unclear. However, I do think that they are difficult to adhere to in some cases, and Harrison really isn't doing a great job of explaining why. He came a little closer to doing so in the Men's Journal article but all the incendiary stuff clouded it.

      By the way, this is a guy whose finds were reduced on appeal.

      Anyway I had some fun with this on my blog, cause NFL players named Harrison seem to be a rowdy bunch.

      Lastly...interesting mix of comments from fans on Harrison's facebook page.
    1. damgenius's Avatar
      I find it very interesting that James Harrison would write that in that way. Sounds ghost written to me. Almost quoted. Is it possible this is actually a paraphrase of a conversation? I just don't see JH as much of a writer. Call me crazy.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      I told Josina I thought it sounded like total BS, and it does. There's no way he wrote it, he's not that smart or articulate. You'll never convince me otherwise.

      Regardless, he needs to face some kind of disciplinary action. I know the Steelers organization usually has a low tolerance for crap, so hopefully they take some kind of action and suspend him for a game or something.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by damgenius View Post
      I find it very interesting that James Harrison would write that in that way. Sounds ghost written to me. Almost quoted. Is it possible this is actually a paraphrase of a conversation? I just don't see JH as much of a writer. Call me crazy.
      I'm sure that he had someone clean it up, at the very least. Heck, even presidents don't write their own speeches.
    1. Colts01's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      I'm sure that he had someone clean it up, at the very least. Heck, even presidents don't write their own speeches.

      "So I analyzed that and decided I didn't want to be the president during a depression greater than the Great Depression, or the beginning of a depression greater than the Great Depression." --George W. Bush, Washington D.C., Dec. 18, 2008

      Someone didn't do a good job cleaning up this one.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Sometimes PC makes me giggle. It's okay to say Goodell is a the devil, a dictator, a punk, a puppet and a crook. It's okay to say you wouldn't waste urine on him if he was on fire.

      Calling him a [bundle of sticks]? You must apologize immediately.

      Hateful words are hateful regardless of whether they offend a select group or not.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      Sometimes PC makes me giggle. It's okay to say Goodell is a the devil, a dictator, a punk, a puppet and a crook. It's okay to say you wouldn't waste urine on him if he was on fire.

      Calling him a [bundle of sticks]? You must apologize immediately.

      Hateful words are hateful regardless of whether they offend a select group or not.
      Word.
    1. bluestree's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Colts01 View Post
      "So I analyzed that and decided I didn't want to be the president during a depression greater than the Great Depression, or the beginning of a depression greater than the Great Depression." --George W. Bush, Washington D.C., Dec. 18, 2008

      Someone didn't do a good job cleaning up this one.
      Keep your First Avenger, I'll take The Decider any day!
    1. bluestree's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRidley View Post
      Good Work on Getting this Josina! Love the hard work during the offseason.

      I don't like how James said things and that he was taking this to the streets instead of keeping it in the locker room. I think folks like James has pented up energy about how they feel and going to the media is how they possibly may feel a little better....I don't know. One thing for sure though, he is going to have discipline from the Steelers.

      Almost overnight, folks are going Ape Snot with the Mendenhall comments, Ward double arrest (despite the first being cleared) and the Harrison rant. This is a Proud Team and they are not going to stand for this. We'll see how the Rooney Family handle this Especially in the year after a Super Bowl loss.
      For true BRid. Steeler family has always kept them at the top through thick and thin. I say they handle it. It's alway tough when you lose the SB, but the Steelers are as veteran as it gets. They'll hang together till the legs give out.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      I love James as a player but I hate the stupid stuff he says from time to time. Keep your mouth shut, hit some ppl hard, pay the fine, and move on. It makes me furious he rattles the locker room in addition to his comments on goodell..