Last year, a GQ article regarding new findings as to the cumulative effects of brain injuries seemed to spark a chain of events culminating in sweeping changes to the manner in which the NFL deals with concussions.
The magazine more widely known for sartorial splendor than sports coverage has now turned its attention to the case of receiver Marvin Harrison, a long-time member of the Colts who remains under suspicion in two Philadelphia shootings. The first occurred in April 2008, and the second came roughly 14 months later, when one of the persons struck with a bullet in the earlier incident ended up being hit with a bunch of them. He later died.
In my new reality of constantly gathering information and presenting it for digestion via computer screens and/or Sprint phones, I rarely devote a substantial chunk of time to the careful perusal of lengthy articles, in any format. In this instance, however, I pressed pause on the PFT machine to read every word crafted by Jason Fagone — even though my first reaction upon learning of the item was to roll both eyes (it’s really hard to roll only one) and assume that GQ was dropping the bomb just in time for the Colts’ postseason debut with Harrison.
So do yourself a favor and read the entire article. It’s right here.
As to the first shooting, Fagone makes a compelling case for Harrison’s guilt, based largely on Harrison’s own words. Inexplicably, the shy to the point of socially inept Harrison agreed to speak with police after a shooting occurred outside the aptly-named Playmakers bar he owns, and Harrison said enough to justify prosecution on charges that he fired bullets that struck David Dixon and Robert Nixon.
The key exchange comes at the top of page 5 of the article. The bottom line is that Harrison lied to police about the whereabouts of the gun on the day of the shooting, while also insisting that no one else could have had possession of it. Perhaps Harrison opted to take the fall for the person who actually picked up the gun and aimed the gun and shot the gun at Dixon (Nixon was merely a bystander). Either way, Harrison appears to be guilty, based on his own nonsensical explanation, given that the gun he claims was at his home was determined to be the gun that someone fired outside Harrison’s bar.
As to the second shooting — the hit that ultimately claimed Dixon’s life — Fagone writes that surveillance tapes obtained from Playmakers mysteriously were missing three minutes of footage, beginning with the moment it appeared that the face of the suspected shooter was coming into view. (The working theory apparently is that Harrison asked or hired someone to turn Dixon into a block of human Swiss cheese.)
And that’s where ESPN’s latest article on the subject — which curiously makes no mention of the GQ piece and has a rushed feel to it — picks up. Shaun Assael of ESPN The Magazine reports that the FBI has joined the effort to determine whether the murder of Dixon is related to the April 2008 shooting that was accomplished with a gun Harrison insists was at his home. (The rest of Assael’s new story is rehashed background.)
So even if the GQ item was published specifically to coincide with the first postseason game played without Harrison by the team with which he spent so many seasons, it has an incredible amount of meat and merit. And with a new prosecutor in Philadelphia, the question becomes whether the work done by Fagone will prompt authorities to seek justice on behalf of Dixon.
Let’s face it — the man was a victim of not one but two shootings, and it’s undeniable that he didn’t shoot himself. Someone was responsible for both crimes, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the someone in question could be wearing something other than a mustard blazer on the day his bust is added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.