James Harrison Won't Play Flag Football


Sweet iPad, Stink.

The firestorm over the unwarranted fine levied against Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker James Harrison reached a new level yesterday.   Silverback didn’t show up for practice and, through his agent, announced he was seriously considering retirement.   Why would this man who struggled for years and years to make it to the NFL give up his dream?   More importantly, why would he forfeit a $50 million dollar contract?

Because he’s standing up for what is right.

The game of football is a violent sport.  It’s been that way since the first game was played in Latrobe in 1895.  Yet the dictators who run the game have decided that we can’t have injuries and we can’t have violence and they’ve decided to levy outrageous penalties against those who play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.  It’s an insult to those of use who grew up watching football and it’s an insult to the players who CHOOSE to compete in the sport knowing the risks.

I don’t blame James for feeling hurt and betrayed by the entire process.  Harrison is a man of principle.   He signed up to play PROFESSIONAL football, not flag football or powder puff.  If he can’t play the way he’s used to playing, why should he continue?   If the league is going to impose ridiculous fines and possibly suspend him for doing what he’s supposed to do, why play?

I didn’t cover his absence yesterday because, unlike the hysterical media, I knew he would be back.   And, indeed, Harrison returned to the team this afternoon.  He couldn’t have practiced yesterday anyway.   It would be impossible to run plays on the wobbly legs he no doubt had after that epic screwing he received from the league.

Some talking heads have been critical of Silverback’s walkout, from Bozo the Columnist’s usual imbecilic rantings to fellow FanSided blog PhinPhantic’s completely nonsensical trolling.  Meanwhile, the players have been overwhelmingly upset about the new rules being put into effect.  Ryan Clark had this to say on Twitter.   You can see the anger flowing from Mark Schlereth in the above clip.  What’s happening to the NFL is nothing short of a travesty.

But no travesty is bigger than the $75,000 fine handed out to Harrison.   Luckily, Steeler Nation sprang into action.   One clever individual started a Facebook page protesting the league’s treatment of our Pro Bowl linebacker.  You can join the protest by clicking here.

For the record, let’s take one last look at some plays from Sunday and examine how hypocritical the NFL and the defenders of the shield are on this issue.   Since this is a really long post, you’ll have to click continue to read on:

First, we have the play Harrison was fined for, his hit on Mohammad Massaquoi:

The ball hit him IN THE HANDS.  While he was fumbling for a grip, he looked down and got laid out. What is Harrison supposed to do? Pull up and just ASSUME he’s not going to make the catch?  I’ve seen dozens and dozens of receivers going across the middle of the field get lit up before and after making a catch.  That’s football.  If the inept receiver didn’t put his own head down or their inept quarterback didn’t hang him out to dry, he wouldn’t have been exposed.

Now, the NFL’s argument would be that leading with his helmet is against the rules and that’s why he was fined.   So then explain this play:

Is that not leading with the helmet?  Is that not a blatantly dangerous spear-type hit ?   The only difference is Mendy wasn’t laid out because unlike that idiot Mohammad, he didn’t lower his head right before impact.

Finally, we’ll take a look at an ACTUAL dirty play, Brandon Meriweather’s hit on Todd Heap.

Do we see the difference?  The Meriweather hit is an absolute disgrace. The receiver is already engaged with another player and that moron launches himself a foot into the air, helmet first, to KO the guy. It’s not even in the same universe as what Harrison did in terms of dirty or illegal play.

But of course the NFL goes after Harrison harder because a) He’s a Steeler and that’s the NFL’s most prestigious franchise and b) He’s a former Defensive Player of the Year so he’s a bigger name than some nobody out in New England.  Congratulations, Ginger Dictator, you found another reason to screw with the Steelers.  How Dan Rooney allows this man to continually single out the league’s signature franchise for these arbitrary and completely unwarranted penalties is beyond me.

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  • jake

    This is absolute nonsense, i can’t believe that there are fines for some one being too good at football. That is the big difference between Harrison’s hit and Meriweather’s hit it because Harrison is too good of a football player to play in the NFL according to their rules. This isn’t coming from a steeler fan either. I am a raw fan of Football, from playing fullback in college i knew and understood every day when one goes on the football field be prepared to be injured, or possibly die. If you are scared of those two things don’t play end of statement.

  • Tom G

    I watched the clips several times now, and I don’t see anything wrong with Harrison’s hits. He’s an animal on defense, and since he laid two guys out almost in a row, he MUST have done something illegal, right?

    Great call on the Mendenhall run clip, Chris. That is the exact same lead-with-the-helmut hit.

    I’m thinking the new rules are going to basically be – “if someone gets injured, then the hit must be illegal”. Obviously the refs didn’t think anything was wrong with the hit and they were right there.

    I hope the league seriously re-evaluates these knee jerk reactions.

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      “I’m thinking the new rules are going to basically be – “if someone gets injured, then the hit must be illegal”

      Well put. That’s EXACTLY why I’m so angry about the rule changes in general and Harrison’s punishment in particular. The Mendy hit was just one, I’m sure if I Tivo’d two or three random games, I’d see dozens more like it. That’s how players are taught to hit.

      I don’t want to see anybody injured but if that WR didn’t lower his own head at the last minute, he would’ve taken a shot to the chest just like Mendy did. So now the NFL is basically telling us that if our player does everything exactly right but the other guy screws up, our guy gets suspended because he got hurt. That’s B.S.

  • Steven McCrae

    Somebody get this comment to the Steeles front office!

    Please try to get the Rooney’s to explain to Roger Goodell how to run a business. The problem this week is that the NFL front office wants to be viewed as the Czar and savior of all that is good in football. Each week, when the front office reviews film and finds problems they need to address the officials behind closed doors. If penalties are not being called, then either the officials are negligent or they have not been properly instructed. They should NEVER sanction a player unless a flag has been thrown. This grandstanding is undermining the authority of the officials on the field. Both the officials and the players are confused. The front office is causing this problem and making the entire NFL look silly. Do you think that the Rooney’s would ever declare publicly that they are going to sanction a player directly without first going to the coach? Roger Goodell is the problem here. He needs to quit grandstanding and recognize his chain of command . We should hear from the NFL front office about as often as we hear from the Rooney’s. Hire good people and let them do their jobs.

    Steven C. McCrae

    • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

      “Grandstanding” is a very appropriate word. This commissioner is by far the most arbitrary and power-hungry I’ve ever seen in sports. One guy gets suspended, one guy doesn’t…things which aren’t penalized on the field are determined to be illegal a week later… I’m all for clean play and good off-the-field behavior but there is absolutely no logic and consistency to his rulings.