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Blog Entry

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 5:49 pm
 


Posted by Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker James Harrison probably isn't much of a poker player. The man is primarily known for two things: being one of the NFL's most tenacious linebackers, and for speaking his mind, even when it's not in his best interest. The most recent evidence for the latter came last week when Harrison unloaded on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall in an interview with Men's Journal.

That led to the inevitable media backlash promptly followed by some Harrison backtracking and PR damage control. To Harrison's credit, he wasted little time telling Roethlisberger that his words were misconstrued, and shortly thereafter issued a statement apologizing to Goodell, too.

So that happened. And now that we're all done parsing Harrison's every word, the conversation has turned to whether Goodell is within his rights to fine or suspend Harrison once the lockout ends. (We've had similar conversations about Kenny Britt, who can't seem to stay out of trouble.)

It's an issue that will likely be negotiated as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

While we wait for that eventuality, however, soon-to-be free agent Darren Sharper said on Fox Sports Radio recently that Harrison shouldn't face league sanctions.

"At this point, with the lockout, I think James looked at it as his liberty and knew that he had the perfect time to say what he wanted to say and not have to face any repercussions because they can’t do anything because there is no CBA agreement," Sharper said, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "He can’t get fined and it might be something at the end of the road where they can go back and fine him at a later date, but right now he’s in the clear to say whatever he wants to."

Harrison's Busy Week

Recently retired Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel echoed Sharper's sentiments. During a Friday radio appearance on Boston's WEEI, he said that the NFLPA "would have an issue if (Harrison) were suspended or fined."

Vrabel elaborated: "I know that James Harrison is a heck of a player and one the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans and their coaches probably really enjoy and are glad that he's on their team," he said. "As long as his teammates are fine with it, we support him as an association."

Vrabel also thinks that Goodell is a big boy and can handle the criticism.

"Roger's got big shoulders, Roger understands," he said. "I would say to Roger or anybody else that had a problem with it, I would say what Bill (Belichick) said to us: 'To (those who) much is given, much is expected. And Roger is given a lot in form of compensation and being in the situation that he's in, so there's a lot expected of him. And if that means taking the higher road and calling James and trying to figure out how to get this thing settled between them or whatever issue they have going on."

Whether that happens remains to be seen. First things first: the owners and players have to agree on an new CBA.

PFT's Mike Florio writes that "one source with general knowledge of the dynamics recently suggested that Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith already have come to an understanding on the point."

Florio adds: "But we’ll have trouble understanding any understanding that allows the NFL to punish players for arrests occurring during the lockout. Indeed, a decision by the NFLPA* to expose players retroactively to responsibility for violations of the personal conduct policy could open the door for a fairly potent lawsuit alleging breach of the duty of fair representation, which could open a fairly significant can of worms given that the labor deal will have been negotiated at a time when, technically, the NFLPA* has the power to represent no one."

Finally, Florio points out that the players who have run afoul of the law aren't getting away with anything by escaping NFL-related sanctions. They still have to answer to the legal system, the media and the fans. Obviously, this doesn't apply to Harrison, who broke no laws when he called Goodell a "clown" and the "devil," and it could be another reason the league chooses not to discipline him.

Then again, arbitrarily meting out punishments has been a criticism (hallmark?) of Goodell's enforcement strategy. It's impossible to predict what he might do. 

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Comments
Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:45 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:31 pm
This comment has been removed.

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kato
Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:50 pm
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Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Harrison is a piece of sh1t i hope he gets wuts coming to him.




Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

If anyone can be truly objective in this matter it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. If the CBA includes the ability for the NFL to retroactively punish players, which it very well might, they have every right and really, every reason to punish him. Whether or not you agree with him, he said things that were detrimental to the team, league AND he threw in a couple magic words that simply aren't tolerated anymore. It all depends on the CBA, opinions don't really matter in this situation. 



Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:51 am
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Did you forget about a pick, 100 yard dash for 6?  One of the greatest SB plays ever. Yes your post is OVERRATED! 



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:29 am
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

HARRISON IS A STUPID MEATHEAD, AND ALL HE CARES ABOUT IS RUNNING HIS MOUTH AND MAKING MONEY, AND MAKING MORE MONEY.  LOOK AT HIM (PICTURE AT THE TOP OF PAGE).  WHATEVER HE SAYS SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH A GRAIN OF SALT....



Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:35 am
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Mike Vrabel is right on target that James Harrison should not incur any adverse action from the NFL or the Pittspburg Steelers.  The bottom line is James Harrison chose not to be poltically correct, however, from the perspective of an all pro football player acknowledged as the preeminent pass rusher and sack specialist asinine rules were put into effect that punish or penalize a player in a high spped game where a clean hit in the making can become what is identified as a fineable offense when a player chages body position or contorts his body when a player has already commited to making his hit in a certain area.  The NFL has in essence passed the James Harrison poster child rule and Roger Goodell should meet with Harrison to clear the air.  Goodell and the NFL put the bullseye on Harrison and is culpable for hurting the game.  Protection of players from concussions is necessary so why doesn't the NFL back off of its contract with Ridell and go with the more protective helmets on the market that have demonstrated in laboratory tests to provide players with way better protection.  this is the hypocrisy in the NFL Commissioner's office.

On the flip side no person or player on any team would condone the comments Harrison made about Big Ben and mendenhall.  The problem with Harrison is he can be overly candid and point blank play the part of the village idiot as he is not media savvy.  He should shut up and play and hire a publicist to issue statements on his behalf that express his perspective on the NFL and the rules in place.  As for the NFL worrying about concussions, the players are more concerned about low hits that tear up knees and ankles and are career ending.
Great post. James Harrison should have to run a couple extra laps after practice once the lockout ends and then we can go on with football.


kato
Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:56 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:44 am
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

to the genius Kato--JH over-rated-- comical comment coming from a vikings fan whose entire team is a yearly soap opera filled with over paid, undeachieving, dropped pass receivers, and of course fumbling slave running backs.  Maybe Harrisons stats are down at times due him being double teamed almost every play and being held on most.  i guess his play in SB against arizona was a fluke as well, a couple of years ago--keep your stats to your self they are for losers and i guess that fits well with the vikings.  harrison would walk into the minny clubhouse and immediately become the best defender on the team.  But maybe that really isnt saying much.


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