The full James Harrison apology


[Editor’s note:  Steelers linebacker James Harrison has issued an apology for his controversial remarks to Men’s Journal magazine.  Harrison released the statement on Facebook and linked to it on Twitter.  He apparently released it initially to Josina Anderson of FOX 31 in Denver.  The full text of the apology appears below.]

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 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. Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included. It was a team effort and a team loss. My teammates know me well, and hopefully understand the things I said were not meant to accuse them of the loss. 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 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.

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. I could just as easily have posed with my fishing poles but it obviously wouldn’t be an interesting picture for the magazine. I am not promoting gun violence by posing for that photo. 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.

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.

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.

57 responses to “The full James Harrison apology

  1. Afterwards Egregious left on a fishing trip with his Glock and his Colt, along with some fishing gear of larger ordinance which he declined to name.

  2. Egregious was going to pose with his fishing poles, but the photographer was worried about the sticks of dynamite attached to the end of the line.

  3. Who says you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube?

    Oh wait, you can’t. Suspension coming.

  4. Egregious just wants you to hear his views on player safety. The handguns are just a means to help bring skeptics around to his point of view.

  5. Apology is not accepted by everyone, including the gay and lesbian community.

    To the writer of the Men’s Journal piece, I know you feel that Harrison was made a poster boy, but when you were asked by ESPN this morning for your reaction when Harrison said that you took his comments out of context, and you didn’t defend yourself, I interpret that as a gutless move. You didn’t bother to say “nope, that’s what he said and he’s sticking to it.”

    If Harrison wanted to clear the air with the context of his comments, why not call the reporter “before” the piece is published.

  6. You might want to ask your agent to send a copies of that joke to the CFL teams, Egregious. Maybe they have a sense of humor.

  7. “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. Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included.”
    I think if any one player is to blame for the steelers loss, it’s Harrison. He’s a former DPOY and the self-proclaimed best linebacker in the league, but he finished the game with one tackle, while Aaron Rodgers trampled over the “Steel Curtain” with the help of virtually unknown
    running backs. Big Ben and Mendenhall, along with the rest of the steelers offense, did a pretty good job, but as they say, defense wins championships. The Steelers should cut this hypocritical loser before he gets suspended or years apart their locker room.

  8. ……and i would like to thank my agent for writing this apology, and for putting in big words like ‘advocating’
    ‘candid’ & ‘gay people’…

    I am now going to take my guns and go fishing.

    btw……I’d still not waste my urine on the commish.

    Hope that clears up this issue.


  9. Harrison is lucky he has the financial resources that can obtain such a republican speech. It’s too bad he has cowered down from his original position(s). I did not like his comments in the article but I did respect his respect his individualism. Now he is just one of the flock, you know this flock, it has physically (chemically) superior athletes who make too much money for their level of intelligence who when left to their own devices get in over their heads and then have to get back in line and ask have their seat at the beggars table back before it is taken away.

  10. Harrison’s an ass-hat.

    Notice that he didn’t even come close to apologizing to the Commish – and he really should, if he has anything remotely resembling honor in him. He apologized for using anti-gay slurs and for any harm that may have caused gays, but not one thing about the Commish.


  11. Yeah, I’m sure this mental giant was capable of writing this himself. Okay, whatever.

  12. He was wrong about a lot he said but he he was also right about a lot. A lot of players and fans feel the same way about the goofball commissioner and just won’t say it publicly

  13. How can someone who writes so elegantly come off as so poorly when he opens his mouth.

  14. Too little, too late jackass. Too little, too late.

    If you don’t want to be known as the jackass that you are then you should keep your f’n mouth shut. It’s your right to say what you say, but it’s our right to see you as the jackassed fool that you are.

    Now do us a favor and sustain a career ending injury.

  15. great apology james. now just let the jerk-offs bash you for no reason once again.

  16. Thanks, James, that’s much better. Hopefully Roger will now apologize to you for the mess he’s created. That would be great if they could outlaw crack back blocks and decrease the season back to 14 games. Thanks again for the clarification and good luck against the Ravens in a couple of weeks.

  17. What a waste of skin. Harrison is a joke and no one would miss him. I hope right before they sign the new cba demaurice sells him out and they ban this piece of garbage for life! Protect the shield boys.

  18. I’ve been extremely critical of James because he is a smart guy who should have known better. Do you commenters just assume he’s stupid because of your own ridiculous stereotypes?

    Yes, Goodell has engaged in ridiculous knee-jerking to avoid Congressional oversight rather than making thoughtful changes to protect players. I don’t blame James for being angry. But he took it too far. And you do not disrespect your teammates in public–or present yourself in a way that would embarrass your team. The NFL is marketed to children and that photo was as inappropriate as porn shots.

    I appreciate his comments but any apology to his teammates is offset by the reporter’s assertions that he should say whatever is necessary to keep peace in the locker room. I still believe a one-game suspension would send the message that no player is more important than the team.

  19. Gosh, there’s nothing I love more than self-righteousness…call him out! Yeah! Stupid James Harrison! Speaking his mind and saying what dozens of players in the league have already said…How dare he try to sully the reputation of a highly criticized commissioner! How dare he call out two offensive players who didn’t get the job done when it counted on the game’s biggest stage!

    Still looking for a crime he committed. Everyone loved five-time convict Chris Henry when he died, giving him a pass on a life of dysfunction and crime, yet we hate James Harrison…

  20. Sounds like the James Harrison that we all know, right? I mean, he talks just like that all the time, doesn’t he?

  21. R.H. says:
    Jul 14, 2011 9:38 PM
    Apology is not accepted by everyone, including the gay and lesbian community.

    To the writer of the Men’s Journal piece, I know you feel that Harrison was made a poster boy, but when you were asked by ESPN this morning for your reaction when Harrison said that you took his comments out of context, and you didn’t defend yourself, I interpret that as a gutless move. You didn’t bother to say “nope, that’s what he said and he’s sticking to it.”

    If Harrison wanted to clear the air with the context of his comments, why not call the reporter “before” the piece is published.


    Right, because you speak for the entire anti-community. His apology was well-stated. He took responsibility for his comments. What do you mean…not accepted?

    The kind of mentality you demonstrate is exactly the problem today with this kind of thing. Someone makes the mistake of calling someone a f****** and all of a sudden an apology isn’t good enough. They have to go into freaking rehab, meet with “gay leaders” and what not. It’s a word. It’s offensive. He apologized. Deal with it.

  22. jaggedmark says:
    Jul 14, 2011 9:36 PM
    Who says you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube?

    Oh wait, you can’t. Suspension coming.


    There is no way he should be suspended for something said in a magazine interview. He has the freedom to say stupid and offensive things. In fact, if the NFL does discipline him, there is a good chance he will fight it, legally speaking. First, it’s highly debatable that the NFL will be allowed to discipline players for conduct during the lockout it imposed. Secondly, while the NFL can enforce player conduct provisions, I think they are going to have a hard time making an action stick when it’s simply over something a player *said* (other than perhaps criticizing officials).

  23. Interesting bit of irony: all these posters “boldly” shredding Harrison as a “waste of skin,” “loser,” “piece of garbage,” “jackassed fool,” “mental giant,” … etc. for Harrison voicing his opinions when asked (and later clarifying his comments through apology) — are equally guilty of similar acts.

    (1) all you cyber chumps act like apex predators with your comments …. ya know, the ones you’re entirely UNaccountable for;

    (2) all, or damned closed to all of you have issues with your workplace superiors you’d love to voice, but would never dare purely out of fear and self-interest (they didn’t make a hit movie entitled “Horrible Bosses” for nothin’); and

    (3) each and every one of you turds would be quivering on your knees (tears streaming down your faces) begging forgiveness if Harrison read your comment from the monitor on the adjacent cubicle and called you out on it.


  24. kspl1 says:
    Jul 14, 2011 10:48 PM
    I dont respect his apology at all. So lane. Stand behind Ur remarks

    Why don’t you respect it? And you realize that it wouldn’t be an apology if he stood behind his remarks?

  25. @Deb – no, I assume he is stupid because of the words to which he chose to give voice – and has chosen to give voice to in the past – such as intending to hurt people. But maybe stupid is the wrong word, and ignorant would be more appropriate…and his past conduct does not bespeak the decisions of a smart individual. And let us not forget, the reporter who admits to worhsiping the guy implied that there was a lot more where that came from, if you know what I mean. Sirius NFL was discussing remarks Harrison made accusing Goodell of fining him more for hitting white guys (which wasn’t even factually correct).

    I understand that Harrison is not alone in his attitudes about the Commissioner & his disciplinary methods – but the rules are what they are, and they are intended (at least) to improve player safety. His sole determination to buck the system by continuing to hit in such a way that the league has deemed illegal & that has caused repeated injury does not speak well of his intelligence either.

    So no, just because everyone is piling on poor James doesn’t mean that we’re guilty of “ridiculous sterotypes” or that he is the victim here…well, he may be the victim…the victim of his own stupidity (or ignorance – you choose). You do occasionally slip off that mantle of objectivity!

  26. Steeler fans/apologists are idiots who could find reason to forgive Casey Anthony if she played for the Steelers….idiots

  27. @mswravens …

    Nope … still being objective 🙂 I’m not talking about people like you saying he’s “stupid” in the sense that they think his comments are idiotic. I’m talking about the ones saying he couldn’t have written the apology statement. Or “he talks just like that, doesn’t he?” Or “I’m sure this mental giant was capable of writing this himself.” Or this lovely bit of racism: “Id like to thank my agent fo righting that fo me yo.”

    I agree with the comments he wrote here about Goodell and the fining issue because it was completely mishandled. But I also agree with you that James has made a collection of bonehead comments. However, he’s not stupid in the stereotypical, racist sense that a lot of these guys are implying–and I don’t think that’s what you mean, either.

  28. Egregious went fishing the other day, but the barrels were empty, so he ended up shooting gophers instead.

  29. Whatever Harrison and his teammates discussed in the wake of the Super Bowl loss is great and all, but all those “what ifs” are nothing more than excuses for Roethlisberger.

    Rarely, if ever, has there been a Super Bowl loss that could so squarely be placed on the shoulders of a single player. Roethlisberger threw the bone-head pick-6 that was the difference in the game and he failed to lead a game winning drive at the 2-minute warning with two timeouts.

  30. Hey Deb, stop defending this moron and quit trying to play the race card.

    “Or this lovely bit of racism: “Id like to thank my agent fo righting that fo me yo.””

    My white trash cousin talks like that. If you are connecting poor speech to African-Americans than you, mam, are a racist.

  31. It’s always freaking amazing how people leave comments about athletes on this site like they know them personally and are around them all the time.

  32. This is stupid. You said it, you meant it, don’t apologize for speaking your mind. What the hell happened to people expressing themselves..too much of this “no, u can’t say that” bs going on.


  34. anactualnflowner says:

    Hey Deb, stop defending this moron and quit trying to play the race card.

    “Or this lovely bit of racism: “Id like to thank my agent fo righting that fo me yo.””

    My white trash cousin talks like that. If you are connecting poor speech to African-Americans than you, mam, are a racist.

    Point taken on the racism issue. I apologize.

    But I haven’t been defending Harrison’s comments. I’ve called him out on every thread and have asked for the Steelers to suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team. I’m just saying that he’s not a stupid man and can’t use stupidity as an excuse for his bad behavior.

  35. Deb:

    Way to spin the words and actions of a clearly at-fault man.

    Where have I seen that before?

    Cough cough – Roethlisberger! Ward! Cough cough.

    And stop with the smiley faces. This is a football website, not a blog for The GAP.

  36. @gregjennings85 …

    You know I’ve called for Harrison to be suspended on every thread and have not spun his words. When you say he’s stupid, you are giving him an excuse not to own his comments. He’s not stupid. He’s knows what he’s saying. And he needs to take responsibility for it. I never excused Ward and said he needed his butt kicked for driving under the influence and that the justice system should take its course. I’ve repeatedly said I think Roethlisberger is an immature jerk who doesn’t work hard enough at his position. But the evidence shows he didn’t assault anyone. That’s not an excuse. His behavior was inexcusable. He simply didn’t do the crime.

    You are just an ass with a woman problem who wants to twist my words and claim I’m saying things I’ve never said. Either that, or you are pitifully slow and unable to comprehend plain English. Either way, it is your problem, not mine.

    And I’ll use whatever emoticons I choose when I write. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. 😈 :mrgreen: 😯 😛

  37. So here’s a question for anyone (and I mean ANYONE) backing this ignorant fool.

    Honestly, was there absolutely no way for this man to convey his feelings with any respect or dignity, without resorting to vulgarities towards his teammates and the commissioner? He really had to resort to such hideous, repugnant and juvenille terms?

    A grown man talks this way?

    THAT is the problem, in my mind.

    Yes, he’s allowed to feel and say whatever he wants. Perhaps (sacracsm here) that his points would be taken seriously if he KNEW HOW TO COMMUNICATED LIKE A HUMAN BEING and a grown man.

    Oh, and for the racial argument here. I’m just wondering…if a white player had made those EXACT comments about Demaurice Smith, I wonder how many SECONDS it would have taken before the race card would have come out. DOUBLE STANDARD.

  38. @sfgiantsfaninla …

    I’m the one who brought in race based on the nature some of the criticism posted. But my complaint is the opposite of making excuses. As a Steelers fan, I know James is not stupid and don’t believe people should give him a pass by calling him stupid.

    In answer to your question about his terminology, as an NFL player, Harrison has a responsibility to behave professionally in disagreeing with the commissioner. I don’t believe there is any excuse for calling out your own teammates in public, regardless of the language you use. And I don’t approve of our players launching unprovoked attacks at players from other teams. It’s bad sportsmanship. I’m also appalled by the photograph accompanying the article, which is inappropriate for a sport marketed to children.

    Although I’m a Steelers diehard and have long supported Harrison, like most Steelers fans, I’m disappointed in this behavior and feel he should be suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.

  39. Deb,

    Hope you have had a nice spring and summer to date.

    Your player here, #92 seems to have stuck his foot in his mouth pretty bad. I thought the things “Sizzle says were bad. At least ‘Sizzle leaves his own teammates alone.

    By your definition I will be racist (and I don’t think I am) because I don’t believe JH is capable of writing that response. For that matter 90% of the players in the NFL (white or black) could not write that response. I see interviews time and time again with these guys. White or black players alike, these guys at times can barely put togther complete thoughts speaking, let alone in a written composition like the above. Let’s face it. These star athletes were not spending hours in English Comp class, or Business Writing when in college. One of the all time dumest sounding athletes ever was Kyle Boller. You ever see that guy interviewed? Wow. Surfer boy at best! If I would have met him as an NFL exec there is no way in the world I would have drafted him in the 1st round. I don’t need Wunderlick results to see that!

    Deb, I do think JH is capable of wishing he hadn’t said those things and retracting his thoughts, but not in that prose. Don’t try to sell me that. His agent’s public relations writer wrote that with JH’s approval. And aside from the gay slurs, I think he escapes much damage. With the gay slurs he simply has to be smarter than that. Society is jumping all over that stuff these days.

    Last, he does not need to suspended for his comments. While no CBA was in place, I think the commish has a tough time doing anything. Not only that, I think the commish needs to have the Rooney’s handle this one. Time for them to have blood on their hands instead of turning Gooddell into the “devil” this time around.

  40. Deb:

    You and I agree completely.

    Harrison may very likely have legitimate issues with the league and the commissioner. That all gets lost in the repugnant manner in which he chose to articulate his feelings.

    I’m not insinuating that this man (or anyone else for that matter) needs to sound like a nobel laureate. That said, to refer to the comissioner with that language and show that lever of disrespect is unimaginable to me.

    I think that’s a harbinger of the society that we’re living in in 2011. Players, actors, musicians…they see no reason to avoid dropping f-bombs during on-camera interviews. ZERO decorum.

    The Steelers have always been such a proud organization, from Chuck Noll and through to Mike Tomlin. Accoridngly, this should not be tolerated.

    He’s a Cincinnati Bengal, if you ask me (and I’m a Jets fan!).

  41. @buckmcnulty …

    Yes, it’s possible someone on Parise’s staff edited the statement–that’s SOP in these situations, whether it’s an athlete or a politician. You’re right, few public figures are capable of writing such coherent copy. If they were, no one would hire me 🙂 But James is absolutely capable of discussing issues that rationally–I’ve heard him do it. He goes off half-c*cked a lot, but when he wants to make a reasoned argument, he can do it. He’s a little deeper than the average jock.

    Either he was too full of himself to care how his remarks could affect locker room harmony–or how the Rooneys might react to such extreme language about the commissioner … or he was foolish enough to think he could chat frankly to a reporter for four days with no consequences. He’s been in the league too long for that. Reporters are not your friends.

    I don’t think Goodell has a right to do anything. James is free to speak his mind. But as an employee of the Steelers, he’s expected to represent the organization responsibly and hasn’t done that. I think the Rooneys should address the situation to demonstrate they’re not going to tolerate rogue players putting themselves above the good of the team.

    It would be a better summer if the Steelers would stop talking now 😉

    @sfgiantsfaninla …

    I’m fine with our players speaking out against bad policy–and Goodell makes a lot of bad policy. Polamalu spoke out in several interviews last year–but he did it respectfully. If James would handle it that way, he’d have more credibility in the league offices where it counts.

  42. James sounds like he has a nasty disposition, an anger that burns deep enough to feed something beyond muscle mass, a competitive desire that is second to none, and a deep desire to pull Goodell’s head off.

    – I’m so very happy he’s on my football team, because otherwise I would really hate this guy.

    Football isn’t about being polite. The Silverback is here to see to it that heads will roll when he’s on the field! That’s a football player! That’s who I want on the field when the ball is snapped!

  43. @Deb

    I can’t argue with anything except for the call to suspend him. I agree that it could have some negative impact on the team, but for the most part I believe it will have a positive impact for the team. Personally, when I hear a guy spout off like that, I can’t wait to see him on the field again next season. I can’t wait to see him POP his first QB or running back. Maybe it’s a guy thing?

  44. sdw2001, you do a hell of a lot of talking for someone who wants to reply and rebut every single comment.

    And what do you mean that I need to “move on”? It’s you who needs to move on because clearly you think you are the authority on this issue, when you are not.

    Everyone doesn’t need you to reply all of the time. You’re wasting space, partner.

    I stated my opinion and I stand by it. Harrison can call Goodell the devil and whatever, but his gay slur isn’t going to be tolerated by anyone anywhere. And if you disagree with it, then I you do endorse intolerance towards individuals and groups, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, and sex.

    Plus, you can stop voting thumbs down on the comments you don’t agree with.

    Harrison will be suspended, at worst be fined.

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