Posted by Will Brinson
In an August issue of Men's Journal -- one that will be the most-read issue of the mag in history based on how much it's being talked about -- Steelers linebacker James Harrison tirades against Roger Goodell in an absolutely stunning number of ways.
I don't want to get into the hypothetical urine-less fire encompassing Roger Goodell or the fact that Ben Roethlisberger just had a Pittsburgh-area bus run over his back. Because something else stands out to me.
Namely, that Harrison, per the Associated Press, wonders "whether a black player is punished more for a hard hit on a white player than the opposite."
Now, I don't have any mathematical data or statistical models to back me up on this, but I do have a photo of a bare-chested Harrison holding a pair of guns -- posing, mind you -- for the very same magazine in which he called Roger Goodell a "clown."
This isn't problematic because the guns and name-calling make him look dangerous. This is problematic because it makes Harrison look like an absolute psychopath, who just so happens to tackle other men for a living, and oftentimes do so in an illegal -- per the league's rules -- manner.
And when you abandon decorum and common sense by taking a spin over the border into Crazytown with your credibility flying out the window, you lose the right to comment on social issues. You lose the right to comment on prejudice in situations like this, because you're already too prejudiced yourself. (This doesn't take into account the use of homophobic slurs in a derogatory manner, either.)
Harrison can't be "targeted" anymore -- he's walking around painting the target on himself with his incendiary comments, name-calling and unwillingness to pee on the commissioner.
Look, Harrison's a smart dude because he's getting attention for his comments and a lot of times, as Mike Freeman pointed out, he's got salient points about the way that the NFL does business.
But most of the time his biggest beef is with the fact that he's getting singled out and fined for things he does on the football field.
Unfortunately for Harrison, once you acknowledge that you're a "hitman" and pose on a magazine holding guns and call high-ranking people in the NFL inflammatory names and don't do any of this off the record, well, you lose your right to complain.
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