As you may probably know, Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been linked to an Al Jazeera report released last December which implicated him and several other NFL players with obtaining and using PEDs (Perfomance Enhancing Drugs).
You may also know that Harrison is one defiant dude. There are plenty of examples throughout Harrison’s career, but perhaps none better than this past Sunday when he addressed reporters at Steelers’ training camp.
Here’s a Tweet from reporter Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
“James Harrison addressing the media for the first time this camp. ‘If you wanna ask me about the PED thing, I’m not talking about it.’”
After making it clear he would not address that aforementioned allegation, he quickly excused himself from the media scrum after one reporter asked Harrison to comment on it anyway.
What did that reporter think would happen? Did he think Harrison would break down after being asked the same question multiple times, like Will Ferrell in Austin Powers 2?
Did he think Harrison would open up about the issue or apologize to his fans for being a distraction like Le’Veon Bell did last week?
By simply walking away, James Harrison pulled a James Harrison.
See, many people think Harrison would explode in that situation and scream at the reporter or grab him by the shirt—maybe even destroy a helmet and tear down a locker room, similar to what Dr. David Banner used to do when he turned into the Incredible Hulk.
But Harrison is a Taurus (May 4, 1978), and as a fellow Taurus (May 12, 1972), I am quite familiar with his response to reporters on Sunday.
This is what Tauruses do. Defiance is in our nature.
After all, we’re talking about the same man in Harrison, who has, since the allegations first surfaced, tried to videotape his own drug test, signed an affidavit proclaiming his innocence and insisted that Commissioner Roger Goodell be present for any sort of interview by NFL investigators.
Speaking of the NFL investigation and the eagerness to interview Harrison, much like the reporter on Sunday, what does the league hope to gain by questioning the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year?
The league has already cleared now retired quarterback Peyton Manning, who supposedly had suspicious packages shipped to his house.
If you cleared Manning, shouldn’t you just go head and clear everyone else named in the report? Is there forensic evidence linking Harrison and others, such as Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, to purchasing, obtaining or taking HGH or similar substances?
Are there failed tests that we don’t know about?
Does the NFL have emails, phone records or receipts with signatures?
The only thing the NFL really has is a video of Charlie Sly saying, “Oh yeah, I worked with (insert accused player here).”
Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly see the NFL wanting to look into a report such as the one Al Jazeera produced last year. But either you have evidence other than Sly speaking casually to an undercover journalist, or you don’t.
Harrison has repeatedly stated his innocence; what will change with an official interview?
Is Goodell hoping Harrison breaks down under questioning and admits to any wrongdoing?
If the league really had more to go on, would Harrison still be allowed to act this defiant some eight months after these rumors first surfaced?
I doubt it.
Much like James Harrison on Sunday, the NFL should just walk away from the Al Jazeera PED report and never look back.