James Harrison Apologizes For Roger Goodell, Ben Roethlisberger Remarks

James Harrison's latest interview has raised some eyebrows as he criticizes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as well as his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He has since called Roethlisberger to clear the air.

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James Harrison Apologizes For Article, Says 'I Am Not A Homophobic Bigot'

After covering his eyes and firing round after round of verbal bullets at teammates and Roger Goodell, as well as posing with very real guns, Harrison issued a long apology, tweeted by Josina Anderson of Showtime's Inside the NFL.

After calling Roger Goodell a word used for hate speech against homosexuals and saying, "If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him," in a recent article in Men's Journal, Harrison said this about his choice of words:

I also need to make clear that the comment about Roger Goodell was not intended to be derogatory against gay people in any way. It was careless use of a slang word and I apologize to all who were offended by the remark. I am not a homophobic bigot, and I would never advocate intolerance of gay people.    

Harrison also previously criticized Ben Roethlisberger, saying, "stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain't that and you know it, man, you just get paid like does." He went on to call running back Rashard Mendenhall a "fumble machine." He addressed these as well in his apology.

I did make comments about my teammates when I was talking about the emotional Super Bowl loss, but the handful of words that were used and heavily publicized yesterday were pulled out of a long conversation and the context was lost. Obviously, I would never say that it was all Ben's or Rashard's fault that we lost the Super Bowl. That would be ridiculous. Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included. It was a team effort and a team loss. My teammates know me well, and hopefully understand the things I said were not meant to accuse them of the loss. We all have discussed several things that went wrong in the Super Bowl since that day. What I do apologize for and take full responsibility for is for speaking in such a candid manner to someone outside the team.

Harrison concluded his apology by clarifying that his original point was to try to get the league to re-assess its stance on dealing with player safety issues. He advocated the second amendment, as well, though we can't really be sure if he meant guns. 


James Harrison Interview Mostly 'Bravado,' Says Agent

Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison's verbal firebombing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been making headlines for a couple days now. And that's a headache for an agent.

Bill Parise, Harrison's Pittsburgh-based agent, did his best to act agent-y and downplay the severity of the comments Wednesday.

"A lot of it is bravado," Parise told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think people have to be careful not to read that and think those statements are anything more than expressions of feelings, particularly in regard to the commissioner. The commissioner fined James $100,000 last year. What do you want him to say, he's my best friend? James is a tough individual, and that's the type of language he uses."

No one will ever accuse of Harrison of lacking bravado. It's Roger Goodell's bravado, especially once the lockout is over and the commish has to decide whether or not to keep those fines coming, that everyone's waiting to see.


Men's Journal Writer Says James Harrison Had More On Ben Roethlisberger

The NFL lockout is still going on which means there's not a whole lot of football news out there. This has caused certain stories, like James Harrison's Men's Journal interview, to receive a longer run in the news cycle than it normally may have. 

The Harrison story continues on Thursday as the writer from the Men's Journal interview, Paul Solotaroff, joined ESPN Radio and indicated that Harrison had more to say about Roethlisberger than was put into the story.

"I filled up three notebooks, I don't know how many hours of digital tape, and I cut so much stuff from this piece," Solotaroff said. "There is just acres of stuff James said that's compelling and amusing and riveting. And that wasn't the only thing he said about Ben."

We're not sure what else Harrison said about Roethlisberger but judging by the original story I can't imagine it was something complimentary. 

Since the story was released on Wednesday, Harrison has called Roethlisberger to explain his comments and even spoke with Solotaroff as well. 

The damage control continues...


Steeler Great Jerome Bettis 'Disappointed' With James Harrison

Former star Steelers running back Jerome Bettis says he's "disappointed" with recent comments Harrison made in an upcoming issue of Men's Journal. Not so much, apparently, the ones pertaining to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but the ones in which he said that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needed to "stop trying to act like Peyton Manning," and that running back Rashard Mendenhall was a "fumble machine."

"It’s disappointing to hear some of the comments he made about his teammates because this is a team game," Bettis said in comments aired on NFL Network. "It’s not an offense against defense type situation. It’s a team and you’ve got to go out there and compete as a team."

Bettis suggests that if Harrison had issues with either player, he should have talked to them out of earshot of the press. He's right, of course - it's terrible form to call out one's teammates the way Harrison did.

It doesn't sound like Harrison's relationship with either player will be an issue. Harrison told Roethlisberger that the writer of the Men's Journal piece "twisted" his words, and Roethlisberger evidently believed him. Mendenhall, meanwhile, dismissed Harrison's comments, saying, "I know him." But that doesn't mean Harrison was right to express opinions in the press that might divide the Steelers' locker room.

For more on James Harrison and the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain and SB Nation Pittsburgh.


More James Harrison Quotes From Men's Journal Interview

The James Harrison story won't be dying today. The Steelers LB gave an interview to Men's Journal and portions of the story were released on Wednesday morning. Deadspin has acquired a few more nuggets from the interview where Harrison continues to blast a few people around the league, especially NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel.

Check out the full set of quotes at Deadspin but there are a few interesting points among the various quotes.

First, the gay slur is identified. The league won't like that. Players have been disciplined in the past for using discriminatory language. For example, Joey Porter was fined $10,000 in 2006 and Larry Johnson was suspended for a pair of similar instances. But can Harrison be fined for his words? The NFL is currently locked out and we don't know the consequences of things like this during a lockout. The league has said the personal conduct policy is still intact during the lockout while the players obviously disagree. How that particular issue turns out could determine whether Harrison faces discipline for his comments.

Second, Harrison indicates that, even after receiving $100,000 in fines over the course of the season for illegal hits, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told him not to change anything he does. 

"That's what we're told by Coach LeBeau - blow through the guy, not to him. When the fines came down he said, 'Don't change a damn thing.' You're doing it the way we do it on this team."

The league has been pretty sensitive to how illegal hits are taught and perceived so I can't imagine they'll like this. 

Third, Harrison actually has a decent point here:

"They take 10 plays out of 4,000 snaps and want to know my thought process on each. What I tried to explain to Goodell, but he was too stupid to understand, is that dudes crouch when you go to hit them. With Massaquoi, my target area was his waist and chest, but he lowered himself at the last possible second and I couldn't adjust to his adjustment. But Goodell, who's a devil, ain't hearing that. Where's the damn discretion, the common sense?"

But of course the name-calling and saying he enjoys hurting people hurts his point.


James Harrison Calls Ben Roethlisberger To Clear The Air

Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison made several headlines on Wednesday when snippets of an interview he did with Men's Journal popped up online. The comments were directed at several folks, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

The comments to Goodell were harsh but we've heard him say similar things about Goodell before. It was the comments on Roethlisberger that really made me scratch my head. 

"Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain't that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."

Harrison was previously booked to do ESPN's SportsCenter on Wednesday night but later canceled that appearance. It seemed as if someone advised him against going on the show in order to kill the story now rather than letting it linger.

That's not the only bit of PR work Harrison's camp has done. ESPN's Merril Hoge reports (via Adam Schefter) that Harrison called Roethlisberger on Wednesday morning -- shortly after the quotes were made public -- to explain that "the writer twisted many of his comments and it was not his intention to criticize the QB." Per Hoge, their relationship is "fine" and Roethlisberger believes Harrison.

It's a pretty standard move to claim their words were "twisted" in a situation like this. That's why we'll never know whether Harrison's words truly were "twister" or if he's trying to get himself out of trouble.


James Harrison's Men's Journal Interview Was Several Months Ago

Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison's name has been in the news on Wednesday for all the wrong reasons. In an interview with Men's Journal, Harrison insulted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and had a few not-so-nice comments for his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger

An ESPN producer wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning that Harrison would be a guest on ESPN's SportsCenter Wednesday night but later tweeted that Harrison called and "backed out of the interview." 

The producer also noted that Harrison told him the interview was done back in April or May.

That shouldn't change much because the circumstances back in April or May were similar to what they were now -- waiting for the lockout to end. Harrison was probably frustrated at the situation and lashed out (not to say that the quotes attributed to him were OK by any means).

So we don't know when we'll hear a follow-up from James Harrison on the quotes in the Men's Journal interview. I have a feeling, though, that when the lockout ends, the Steelers will be waiting to have a few words with him.


James Harrison Cancels Interview On ESPN

By now most of you have heard the recent comments from Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison. In an interview with Men's Journal, Harrison insulted Roger Goodell by calling him, among other names, a "puppet" and also had a few words for QB Ben Roethlisberger saying he doesn't play like QB Peyton Manning but that he only gets paid like him.

Lucky for those of us who need some drama in this NFL lockout-filled offseason, Harrison will be going on ESPN at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday evening, presumably to discuss his comments.

[Update: Sounds like Harrison has now canceled that interview on ESPN.]

So what will he say? There are a few options that I see.

First, he could own up to it all and back up everything he said in the interview. This is what he should do since most excuses like "I didn't know we were on the record!" usually end making the situation worse. Either way, though, this isn't a good situation for him.

Second, he could say that the words about Goodell and/or Roethlisberger were taken out of context. I'm betting this is what he says but we shall see.

Third, he could say he was completely misquoted and that's not what he said. Of course, the reporter probably still has the audio of their conversation, if he did record it.


James Harrison Has Words For Ben Roethlisberger, Too

In an interview with Men's Journal, Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison had incredibly harsh and insulting words for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him a "devil" and using a gay slur. Harrison's history with Goodell has been a rocky one with the Steelers LB receiving $100,000 in fines in 2010 alone. 

Criticizing and insulting Goodell is one thing. Depending on the rules in the next CBA, Harrison could be fined or suspended for his words but ultimately life will go on.

But criticizing your own teammates is different. It affects the chemistry on the team and could affect their play on the field. That's why, in Harrison's interview, I think his comments about QB Ben Roethlisberger are the most damning.

"Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain't that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."

That's only a snippet of what he had to say. I can't imagine what the full interview looks like.

Harrison's war of words with Goodell is one thing. But criticizing and embarrassing your own teammates? That's what could have the most long-lasting effect from this interview.


James Harrison Blasts Roger Goodell, Calls Him Gay Slur And 'Devil'

James Harrison has reason to not be the biggest fan of  Roger Goodell after piling up $100,000 in fines last season. Harrison has made it clear that is indeed the case, too, with a recent interview in Men's Journal.

The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker voiced his displeasure with the NFL Commissioner by calling him an a gay slur and the "devil" in the newsstand version of the monthly magazine, according to the Associated Press, and his comments in the online-only version aren't much tamer.

"My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people," Harrison told the magazine. "But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty - till Roger Goodell, who's a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him."

The magazine feature is accompanied by Harrison posing shirtless with two of his personal handguns -- indentified as a FN Five-Seven pistol and a Smith & Wesson 460V revolver for the gun enthusiasts among us -- to accompany the James Harrison: Confessions of an NFL Hitman headline.


Oh, and Harrison also talks about grabbing rattle snakes barehanded -- quite an interview when that's an afterthought, eh?

It seems that Harrison is probably enjoying this NFL lockout, if only because he can't be fined for speaking about whatever's on his mind. After this last NFL season, however, it wouldn't be surprising if Goodell is able to figure out a way to fine his player as soon as he even thinks about tackling someone next season.

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