Sanctimonious and irritatingly delusional athletes are bad, but sanctimonious and irritatingly delusional athletes who get a public platform to spew their dumb theories on life are the absolute worst.
Recently, Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro James Harrison did a little interview with Men’s Journal. Now, keep in mind, countless interviews have been done by an assortment of players since the start of the lockout. At no point has this been a problem, as most of the stars interviewed conducted themselves in accordance with generally accepted standards of public decency. Said players spoke openly and honestly, but they didn’t simply turn off that magical internal filter that ultimately decides whether you sound reasonable or stupid to the masses who read your interview.
While doing his little thing with Men’s Journal, conversation turned to the lockout and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Harrison and Goodell, of course, have some very well-known bad blood between them, so the fact that the Steelers OLB doesn’t have all that many pleasant things to say about the league commissioner is anything but surprising. What is surprising, however, is the levels that he opted to take it to.
"My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a (gun) who loves hitting the hell out of people," he says. "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. I hate him and will never respect him.”
Harrison’s resentment comes from Goodell fining him several times last year, with the total out-of-pocket cost reaching six figures. Does that give the all-pro permission to refer to the commissioner as a “dictator” and “devil,” with a homophobic slur thrown in for dramatic effect? That’s for everyone to decide on their own.
Hands down, though, the best quote regarding Goodell in the interview was: “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.”
Harrison must have borrowed that bit of brilliance from Sun Tzu. If there is one way to make your enemies sorry, obviously, it’s withholding your urine as they are burning alive.
At some point in the interview Harrison -- figuring he had adequately made himself look like a fool in regards to Goodell -- decided to turn the gun on his teammates. On his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, the ex-Defensive Player of the Year offered this gem: "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."
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall wasn’t immune to criticism from the all-knowing Harrison either, as he was dubbed a “fumbling machine.”
And what is a Harrison interview without a New England Patriots mention? On the Patriots defeating the Steelers in the 2004 AFC Championship game:
"I should have another ring. We were the best team in football in 2004, but the Patriots, who we beat during the regular season, stole our signals and picked up 90% of our blitzes (in the AFC title game). They got busted for it later, but, hey, they're Goodell's boys, so he slapped 'em $500,000 and burned the tapes. Was he going to rescind their Super Bowls? Man, hell no!"
The whole interview is basically a testament to when keeping it real goes terribly, terribly wrong. Plus, Harrison choosing to pose in wannabe-Hitman form (photo can be found below, courtesy of CBSSports) makes it all the worse. It gives off the impression that the all-pro defensive star actually believes the nonsensical idea that he is some sort of assassin.
Anyway, aside from all of the delusions of grandeur, reaming out of friends and foes alike, a complete lack of touch with reality, non-stop idiocy, and laughable fakery – this was a very entertaining effort. The guy clearly need an Ativan, but this was still very entertaining.
Check out the sassy assassin in all his glory: