Rooney, Goodell will review James Harrison’s comments


It’s still not clear whether players who got into off-field trouble during the lockout will be disciplined now that the NFL is back in business. It’s also not clear whether James Harrison’s comments in a Men’s Journal interview were sufficiently offensive that he’ll be in trouble.

But Steelers president Art Rooney II says he and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will discuss the matter.

“I have not spoken to [Goodell] about it,” Rooney said. “I do expect we probably will be talking about it.”

Players typically haven’t been disciplined for expressing opinions, even extreme opinions like Harrison calling Goodell a “crook” and a “devil” and a “puppet” and a “dictator.” Harrison’s use of a gay slur, however, could put him in hot water.

For his part, Rooney thinks the new CBA won’t change the way discipline is handled: It’s up to Goodell.

“It’s my understanding that with regard to the personal conduct policy . . . there are no changes,” Rooney said. “My expectation is that the commissioner’s office will handle fines and discipline in a similar fashion to how things were handled the past few years. Having said that, I know the commissioner has been focused on other things in recent months, so I have to say that he may want to review some things and do things differently. We really haven’t talked about that in the last few weeks. But my understanding is that there is no change in the way the personal conduct policy will be handled or the way disciplined
will be handled.”

47 responses to “Rooney, Goodell will review James Harrison’s comments

  1. How do you call someone both a “dictator” and a “puppet” in one interview? God this guy is a moron.

  2. I don’t think Goodell will suspend him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll fine him. Based on how irate Harrison was from those other fines, I could see Goodell getting Harrison back in the best possible way: hitting his wallet.

    And JH won’t be a happy camper…

  3. He was quoted as using “[gay slur]”. I’m not sure players get in trouble for [bracketed expressions] that imply they said something offensive.

  4. lol this is pretty funny. Expect a slap on the wrist (at worst) to Harrison publicly… and probably a stern talking to privately.

  5. AKA get ready your checkbook ready James! I’m starting to think that this guy enjoys paying fines. His stupidity leaves me no other choice.

  6. How can you break any rules, when there are no rules to be broken? Why should Harrison be punished for comments? If you can say stuff about your own government, I think Harrison should be able to express his opinion about Goodell…. Is he so big, nobody is allowed to talk bad about him? Pu-lease…

  7. Nothing a guy says no matter how heinous should result in LEAGUE discipline. Teams however should do what they can if they have a code of conduct/team rules players violate. I would honestly like to see teams put it in contracts that the microsecond a player whines to the press about his contract they have the right to some sort of discipline. Wishful thinking I know.

    Also, guys like Harrison, Chester Pitts, Ray Edwards, etc etc whining to the media and namecalling is a big reason I had a hard time sympathizing with some players during this lockout. Acting like 2nd graders on the playground when you are almost 30 doesn’t garner respect in my book.

  8. Good. As I said in the Ray Edwards story, you can make your opinions known without being offensive and ignorant. You can say “I don’t like this person, and here is why” Thats not what Harrison did. He just unloaded without justifying his feelings. Edwards laid out his argument. It wasn’t laid out great but he at least gave his reasons and didn’t attack Goodell like a middle schooler on XBox Live.

  9. What he said was stupid.. but its refreshing that there are still people who aren’t fake in the sake of being PC.. this country is becoming a joke.. you can’t say anything w/o offending someone.. I’d be upset too if i was a defensive player playing in the league that now only cares about offense

  10. The “classy” facade the Stillers have portrayed to their know no better fan base for years has crumbled…..They are no different than any company who has profits as their first agenda….But the yinzers are so brainwashed, they will defend a man, who basically is an ass……And the article and the pictures proved it……

  11. @daburgher – I know you are legally obligated to defend James Harrison based on your fan alliegance, but this really isn’t a matter of being PC or not. He’s a member of the Steelers organization which is in turn, a member of the NFL. Roger Goodell is the head of that organization. It’s kind of the understatement of the year to say his comments were simply stupid. You can intelligently break down a situation without resorting to name calling, it’s hardly a political correctness thing. Players like James Harrison only further the idea that these guys are overpayed babies. I mean nothing negative or derogatory against the Steelers organization, but thats just my opinion.

  12. James Harrison is an out of control roids user. He is a dirty player with a dirty mouth who will be forgotten quickly when his career is finished. The Steelers can continue to look the other way like they have done for years but they are fully aware of who and what Harrison is.

  13. @kellyb9

    I am a die hard Steeler fan and have been for years, and I must say that I agree with you 100%.

  14. If I’m James Harrison, I wouldn’t be too worried about it. If Goodell wants to start handing out fines for lockout infractions, there are a boatload of actually arrests and convictions ahead of him.

  15. Players can whine about Goodell all they want, they should be thankful. David Stern would fine the hell out of some of these guys just for expressing an opinion.

  16. Calling the league’s integrity into question like this is even worse than calling out a ref on game day. Maybe if he gets fined enough he’ll stop threatening to retire like a baby and actually do it.

  17. I don’t care for a lot of Goodell’s policies, but this isn’t the government we’re talking about. This is a private business, so any free expression right are out the window. Allowing player’s to say whatever they want to about the commissioner of the league is not good for the league’s reputation, and the purpose of the personal conduct policy is to protect that reputation. I’m expecting that Harrison is gonna visit the principal’s office and get a stern talking to, and if he lets it happen again in the future, he can expect more than a slap on the wrist.

  18. I understand all the media stuff, but why is it so bad to call people jerks, babies, idiots, and all these other things, but boy, if you disagree with their sexual orientation, the world shakes??? Seems like overkill to me. Should be grouped in with questioning their minds if their vegans, or how does it stack up against dog-fighting and torture of dogs. Seems like you should be allowed to exercise your constitutional rights.

  19. This isn’t a league issue and Rooney shouldn’t be passing the buck to Goodell. I’d be surprised if Goodell disciplined Harrison for calling him names. It would seem like personal revenge, and much as I disagree with Goodell, I think he’s above that.

    I like James, but his behavior in posing for that photograph, slamming his teammates, etc., was conduct detrimental to the team and Rooney should deal with it himself by sitting him for a game.

  20. Since the lockout was in effect, there should be no league response…of course it also means that the rules blocking Goodell from legal action were also suspended. Goodell could easily sue him for slander. It should be an easy case to win and one that will bring a higher fine than would have been imposed by the NFL. That’s how you shut up someone who has diarrhea of the mouth.

  21. I like James, Goodell is a joke, and the recent distractions the Steelers have faced WILL NOT hinder this season……LET’S PLAY SOME DAMN FOOTBALL ALREADY!!!!!

    “Here we go STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!!!!!”

  22. Question:

    How many of you/us can go to work & tell others (overtly, making sure your words WOULD get back) that the boss/owner/CEO is a puppet or a dictator. Then in the same way, call others names & just in general, make those kinds/types of comments. And we would still have a job? Do we all have complete free speech at work & in regards to how we feel things are being run at our places of business?

    Of course we don’t, free speech or not. Neither does James Harrison. Most of us understand, our places of employment & our opinion of them cannot be broadcast with a megaphone at the next company picnic or Christmas party. Why do guys like Harrison & other NFL players get that right. David Stern is correct, STFU & play. It’s a privilege & like any other corporate environment in America. Keep your opinions to yourself & do your damn job.

  23. If I’m James Harrison I wouldn’t be too worried about it. If Goodell is going to start handing out fines for lockout infractions, he has a boatload of actual arrests and convictions on his plate ahead of JH.

  24. Egregious is wondering if Roger Goodell is related to Jane Goodall, the person who taught him speech.

  25. @steeelfann says:
    Jul 26, 2011 11:00 AM
    I understand all the media stuff, but why is it so bad to call people jerks, babies, idiots, and all these other things, but boy, if you disagree with their sexual orientation, the world shakes??? Seems like overkill to me. Should be grouped in with questioning their minds if their vegans, or how does it stack up against dog-fighting and torture of dogs. Seems like you should be allowed to exercise your constitutional rights.

    Go try calling your boss, owner, or CEO what he called Goodell. See what happens next.

    Geez, you Steeler fans don’t get this?

  26. @steeelfann …

    I’m very unhappy with Harrison’s behavior in this situation. But his use of the “gay slur” has been blown out of all proportion. It’s a vile term and I’d never use it. But it is a slang term some people have long used when slamming others, not just gays. He wasn’t questioning Goodell’s sexual orientation–and when he was ranting about the commissioner I don’t think slurring gays was on his mind. He apologized for using the term and said he never intended to insult gays. Since he didn’t apologize for anything else he said or did, I think his apology on that was believable, and it’s silly for people to keep beating that dead horse.

  27. Camcameronsucks – I assume you are a pissed off fan of the Ravens. If so, you have a lot of nerve calling the Steelers “the classiest organization in the league” when your team has employed model citizens like Donte Stallworth, Ray Lewis, & Jamal Lewis.


  29. Certainly a lot of self-righteous football fans writing here today. How many of you had similar comments about Goodell during last season? I know I did. James is not the most well spoken player in the league, but he does express himself. And I suspect his team mates just roll there eyes and figure that it’s just James when he talks about them. As long as he plays hard nosed football like he always does, they’ll be fine with him.

    I bet you’ll be saying the same stuff about him during this season when he sacks your quarterback, or makes the hard tackle on your running back, or maybe drops back, intercepts the ball and runs it in for a touchdown – kind of like you’re talking about him now.

  30. kellyb9 says:You can intelligently break down a situation without resorting to name calling, it’s hardly a political correctness thing. Players like James Harrison only further the idea that these guys are overpayed babies.


    So, calling a man an “overpaid baby” isn’t resorting to name calling? Talk about hypocrisy…

  31. @johninpa …

    Love my Steelers, like James, do not like Goodell. James is a bright guy, intense, and has a chip on his shoulder. I love the way he plays the game and the way he stands up for what he believes. But this time he took it too far. The comments about his teammates, other players in the league, the terminology he used in discussing the commissioner, and especially the photo crossed the line. Maybe suggesting a one-game suspension is too much, but it wouldn’t hurt for Rooney to send some kind of message about team discipline.

  32. @Deb

    How did the photo cross the line? He is posing with two of his legal possessions. Would you feel the same way if he posed with his vehicle?

  33. @woodson26pitt …

    Please don’t pick a fight with me. It would be so difficult to battle with anyone paying tribute to my beloved Rod Woodson. I’d do it … but I wouldn’t enjoy it 😉

    The “legal possessions” argument is silly. He owns jock straps, too, and his wife probably owns Tampons. Should he pose for a magazine layout with those in hand because they’re his legal possessions? I’m not debating his Constitutional right to bear arms. But the NFL has legitimate concerns that the public perceives its players as criminals and th*gs. The outlaw setup of that photograph–the menacing stare, flexed muscles, the type of weapons pictured–reinforces a negative stereotype, not only about football players but about black men. Beyond that, the NFL and the Steelers market their product as family friendly. That’s not an image most responsible parents would want the children of their family associating with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    I have a corporate communications background, and no employee should ever appear in a promotional piece like that as a representative of the organization without first getting an okay from the company. He wasn’t in that magazine because he was James Harrison, guy and gun owner. He was in that magazine because he was James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steeler. He had a professional responsibility to represent the Steeler image well. And the Steelers are a football team, not a street gang. The photo was a big mistake.

  34. Deb, you make a valid point from that perspective. I could get into the fact that at the time of the photo, he was not employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that would be side-tracking. I thought you were just being another “guns are evil” liberal, my apologies. 🙂

  35. @woodson26pitt …

    No problem. James mentioned they’d also photographed him fishing. If they’d run photos of him fishing together with photos of him at the shooting range to demonstrate his hobbies, that would have been fine. But the underlying message of that photo was inappropriate.

    Technically, yes, he was locked out by the team at the time. But if he weren’t employed by the Steelers, Men’s Journal wouldn’t have been writing about him 🙂

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