Friday, July 15, 2011

The Annotated James Harrison Apology

By now you've probably seen the statement from James Harrison responding to the ballyhoo caused by his inflammatory remarks in this month's "Men's Journal."  Now, in a GTOG exclusive, we have James Harrison himself reflecting on that statement and giving us the story behind the apology. 

Accept my apology. Or else.
"I'll start by offering my apologies for some of the words that I said during the four days in May that Men's Journal was invited to my house to discuss what the NFL has recently been portraying as their attempts at 'player safety' rules and regulations, and to cover my everyday workout routine."

I'll start by thanking my agent for writing this for me.  The way he managed to convey an apology, which he deftly qualified by suggesting that "Men's Journal" threw me under the bus by highlighting the wrong quotes? I'm not sure I could have pulled that off.  In fact, I know I couldn't have.  Hell of a first sentence.

"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."

I would just say that it was mostly Ben's and Rashard's fault.

"Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included." 

And by "me included," I mean I'm a member of the team.

"It was a team effort and a team loss."

The Steelers played, and the Steelers lost.  There's really no other possible interpretation of what happened.  But it was mostly Ben's and Rashard's fault.

(He sort of has a point)

"My teammates know me well, and hopefully understand the things I said were not meant to accuse them of the loss."

My teammates are genuinely terrified of me.

"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."

I told Ben and Rashard after the Super Bowl that we lost because of them.  Since that day, I have told them repeatedly that it was their fault.  I've been very open and upfront about this.  Saying it again in a national publication may have been overkill, but when I called Ben and Rashard to apologize, I reiterated that it was their fault.

"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."

Why would anyone think calling someone a derogatory name is somehow derogatory?  I would never advocate intolerance of gay people.  I merely practice intolerance of gay people. 

"As far as the photo that was shown on air yesterday, collecting guns is a hobby of mine, and I advocate the responsible use of firearms. I believe in the right to bear arms. I like to go to the shooting range. I like to hunt. I like to fish."

When I say the right to "bear arms," I mean I killed a bear the other day with my bare arms.  Other things I enjoy include "hurting" other players, body-slamming fans who run onto the playing field, and not urinating on my boss.  I also like to pose shirtless while wielding my instruments of death. 

"I could just as easily have posed with my fishing poles but it obviously wouldn't be an interesting picture for the magazine."

I actually just shoot the fish.

Cutting room floor.
"I am not promoting gun violence by posing for that photo."

I am promoting being prepared for gun violence.

"There are also other photos in the magazine story that were not shown on air yesterday — including me with my sons, with my mom and as a kid."

This is probably for the best, because we all were holding guns.

"Unfortunately, the above items and other comments have detracted from the original purpose of the story — a position I have been advocating for some time now. If player safety is the NFL's main concern, as they say it is, they are not going about it in an effective manner. There's nothing about extending the season or issuing exorbitant fines on defensive players that makes any shift toward the prevention of injury to players.  I believe that the league may have been feeling increasing pressure about injuries and concussions last year, and that they panicked and put rules in place that weren't fully thought out. I'm not advocating more flags and fines, I'm just saying that the current rules are not completely fair, and I don't believe in the way that the league is handling their position as overseer of the NFL and the well-being of its players."

If Roger Goodell was on fire and I had to piss to put it out, I wouldn't do it.  I hate him and will never respect him. 

"As far as the character and reputation hits I may suffer as a result of my comments in the article, I'll take those hits and more if it brings increased attention to the re-examination and installation of rules and regulations that would create a REAL impact on player safety."

You see that? I'm a martyr. 

See? The world is against me.

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