Unless you have been living under a rock over the last day or so, you have probably heard James Harrison’s comments on Barstool Sports’ Going Deep podcast that Mike Tomlin “handed him an envelope” after he was fined $75,000 for his 2010 hit on Cleveland Browns’ receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
Harrison has been receiving quite a bit of backlash for his remarks as people have been comparing the situation to Bountygate and claiming the league should investigate the matter. Appalled by what he has been seeing, he took to social media this morning to defend himself and Coach Tomlin.
View this post on Instagram
Wow y'all really comparing what I said to BOUNTYGATE?!? Mike T. Has NEVER paid me for hurting someone or TRYING to hurt someone or put a bounty on ANYBODY! If you knew the full story of what happened back then you'd know that BS fine for a Legal Play wasn't even penalized during the game. The league was getting pressure because the first concussion lawsuits were starting and they had to look like they cared about player safety all of a sudden. Before that they had been SELLING a photo of THAT SAME PLAY FOR $55 on the NFL website with other videos of the NFL'S GREATEST HITS that the league Profited On back then. When the league had to start pretending like they cared about player safety they took all those things down off their website and they started fining guys ridiculous amounts for the same plays they used to profit off of. EVERYBODY knew it - even these same media people and all the fans that were sending money to me and the team to cover the fine. AGAIN AT NO TIME did Mike T. EVER suggest anybody hurt anybody or that they'd be rewarded for anything like that. GTFOH with that BS!!! #receipts
If you listen to what he actually said in the interview, it’s pretty obvious that he meant Tomlin gave him the envelope to cover his fine. In no way, shape, or form was he saying that Tomlin paid him to hurt Massaquoi or any other player for that matter.
Harrison made it a point in his post to highlight the fact that the only reason he was fined in the first place is because it was at a time when the league was under pressure due to an increasing amount of concussion lawsuits being levied against them. If you go back and look at it, the play didn’t even draw a flag during the game. So was it a case of the hit actually being too brutal or the league just trying to save face?
Harrison also exposed the NFL for profiting off of his hit by selling pictures and videos of the collision on their league websites. Considering how severely he was fined for his actions, he claims it is quite hypocritical of the league to be using that exact play to make money for themselves. And it is. The league should have either fully condemned the hit and never put it online or left Harrison alone in the first place. There is no way to justify fining a man for the same play that the league, in turn, used for profit.
Perhaps the best part of Harrison’s post was where he stated that media members and fans from all over were sending him money to cover his fine. Some people thought at the time that he was being over-punished, so to see all the support he was receiving behind the scene is pretty amazing. Steelers’ Nation has always had a reputation for sticking with players through thick and thin, and this just goes to show that sentiment rings true.
Overall, Harrison said most of what we already knew. The league has never been consistent in their discipline and it is absurd to compare this situation to Bountygate. Coach Tomlin was never paying anyone to hurt other players and Harrison wasn’t entirely in the wrong for his actions. I think, at this point, it’s time to put this story to rest. Case closed.