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

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:46 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

lockout or no lockut whatver happened to common respect ?//what harrison said was horrible and dispicable and anyone who condones it is as stupid a she is..



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:40 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Is the lock out over yet? NO. oh, ok.



Since: Jun 21, 2008
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:47 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

The only thing "FREEDOM" works for is not allowing the country to lock you away and take away your rights for what you say.. However; much like many other aspects of law, you can be sued, or fined for your comments/actions...

Yes, Harrison has the FREEDOM to say whatever he wants without being imprisoned or killed. However; the Steelers and NFL as employers have all the right to suspend him and/or fine him... Some of you people need to understand the differences. If someone is out of line, they deserved to be punished. Harrison is a JOKE... Just because you're a star, doesn't mean you can act like a little prick all the time.



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:35 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Chevy you clown, Bush and his Patriot act did far more to stifle freedom in this country than our current president.  This isn't about Freedom of speech, this is about a loudmouth who bites the hand that feeds him constantly.  I've never questioned Harrison's heart, just his sheer stupidity off of the field.  Close your mouth and let your play on the field talk for you.  Play clean, and play hard. 



Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

James Harrison IS under contract with the Steelers. Otherwise he and every other player in the NFL would be free agents, and could play for the team of thier choice after the new CBA is agreed upon. Harrison is still employed by the Steelers, and thus "under contract". Harrison has an employment contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers under which his annual salary, bonuses etc., are clearly spelled out. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA expired. A new CBA is being negotiated. When an new CBA is hammered out, the Steelers are NOT going to renegotiate all the existing contracts with players. The terms of all players currently under contract will not change. The new CBA will not alter Harrison's contract and salary with the Steelers. Harrison will be paid the sums due in his still existing employment contract. 



Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, is freedom of speech.  It isn't just for all words except whatever each person in this country is offended by.  Remember that...freedom of speech...it's what AMERICANS HAVE DIED FOR.


Hahahas   No such thing.  Too many people get offended to have real freedom of speech.



Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Freedom of speech only protects from the goverment throwing you in jail for what you say. It doesnt remove all consequence. Try walking into your bosses office and invoke your freedom of speech. Call him every dirty thing you can think of and see how long your freedom of speech protects your job.



Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:18 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

"FREEDOM OF SPEECH, is freedom of speech. It isn't just for all words except whatever each person in this country is offended by. Remember that...freedom of speech...it's what AMERICANS HAVE DIED FOR."



And obama is working toward taking away that away from the American People.



Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:02 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, is freedom of speech.  It isn't just for all words except whatever each person in this country is offended by.  Remember that...freedom of speech...it's what AMERICANS HAVE DIED FOR.



Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:59 pm
 

Vrabel doesn't think NFL should punish Harrison

Not a big deal...we have all said it, and it is what it is.  Gross as hell.  Don't tell me I can't use a word based on my moral compass.  This isn't racism or bigotry.... it's a fact that something is gross and disgusting to me and others, and there is a word for those who do those acts.  I don't buy into political correctness and all that bs.  There are words for people who do certain things......you can begin that list with this and end it with the fat girl in Walmart with a cut off shirt and jorts.  We all judge and have words for certain types of people.  Good luck with your raise.  Sensitivity and pc = money for those who lobby.... money is what its always all about.  It's why you have (homophobic slur) typed in that manner....you have bought into it.


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