Written by: James R. Harrison Jr. – Founder, President, & CEO (@TheGrandstandUS)
“When it comes down to it, I want to play. But…”
Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker, James Harrison, has a problem with the paradigm set forth by the National Football League to investigate whatever they want, by whatever means necessary. Harrison went on to say that, “I don’t have a problem doing the interview. Come to my house. Bring Roger [Goodell] with you.”
Harrison, along with Green Bay Packers’ linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal, are subject to suspension on August 26 if they do not provide the league offices with an interview by the 25th of this month. The suspicion of PED use comes from an Al-Jazeera America report in which Charlie Sly, the source of allegations which came forth from a conversation recorded unbeknownst to him via hidden camera, accused these linebackers, along with Peyton Manning, of being linked to an anti-aging clinic. Sly later recanted the statements he made to Al-Jazeera regarding these players’ potential HGH use.
Harrison says he has not had a chance to read the letter sent to the NFLPA from Adolpho Birch, which can be read here, but that he will follow the advice of his attorneys and the NFLPA, which has declined to comment on the situation.
When Harrison was asked why not just complete the interview if there is nothing to hide, Harrison questions the principle of the situation, comparing it to, what I would call, a hearsay objection in the court of law.
“If that’s the case, then somebody could come out and say James Harrison is a pedophile,” Harrison said. “They are going to suspend me, put me under investigation for being a pedophile just because somebody said it? I’m not going to answer questions for every little thing some Tom, Dick, and Harry comes up with.”
Harrison went on to say that he is “definitely” prepared to sit if that’s what is determined to be the right thing to do by his camp.
“I’ll do what I have to do. They’ll do what they have to do,” said Harrison about the NFL. “We’ll make that decision when that time comes. […] I just am doing what I’m advised to do (by the NFLPA). It’s the right thing to do.”
Harrison believes that the NFL has not appropriately launched this investigation, and sites that the NFL-NFLPA drug substance of abuse policy requires “sufficient credible documented evidence” in order to discipline a player; however, with the refusal to participate in the investigation, the league sites their “conduct detrimental” policy in their impending suspension of the four linebackers.
Although Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin says the investigation has nothing to do with the Steelers, Harrison says that the team will factor into his decision.
“I’m sure it would lean me in that direction because I don’t want to let my teammates down, I don’t want to let the organization down. We’ll deal with that when the time comes.”
– Information from ESPN was used in this report.