James Harrison apologizes for “way out of line” attack on Roger Goodell

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On second thought, Steelers linebacker James Harrison wishes he hadn’t called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell the “devil” and a “crook.”

“The interview that I did and the comments that I made about Roger Goodell were inappropriate, at the least,” Harrison said today at Steelers camp, via James Walker of ESPN.com. “They were way out of line, and I was speaking out of anger and frustration at the time. Any comments that I made that offended anyone, I apologize.”

Both Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Steelers president Art Rooney II told Harrison they thought his comments crossed the line, and after thinking about it, Harrison decided that they were right.

Or at least, he decided that he should apologize for appearances’ sake, even if he still hates Goodell.

As for the other controversial comments Harrison made in his Men’s Journal interview, including ripping teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall, Harrison said the people in his locker room know what kind of person he is and weren’t bothered by what he said.

“That’s all behind us,” he said Friday. “Those comments [toward teammates] were taken out of context with a long conversation. It’s not anything I haven’t talked to those guys about or my teammates about.”

There’s no word on whether Harrison will be getting a call from Goodell’s office about the matter, but Harrison seems to think it’s time to move on.

80 responses to “James Harrison apologizes for “way out of line” attack on Roger Goodell

  1. This was once a proud man and now Rooney’s are forcing him into the role of a Tom. Shame on your Rooney’s for stripping this man’s pride.

  2. Only a little pu$$y would apologize for such aggressive comments

    Whats wrong James, no guns in your hand and now you’re not so tough?

    Don’t apologize for words, just apologize for having been a dumbass and move on

  3. The Steeler’s should show a backbone that they still value class and cut this clown now. Send him to Dallas.

  4. I do not agree with James, but this is a free country, and he should be able to say whatever he wants. HOWEVER, he/we must live with the consequences of our words and actions.

  5. A player talks to the media and his comments are taken “out of context”. Surprise surprise, right?

  6. Dude is a turd. He should’ve said “I apologize for these comments and also for the moronic things I will say very soon”. You can only apologize so many times before you realize some guys just can’t help it. They are simply dumb.

  7. nflofficeadmin says:Jul 29, 2011 12:12 PM

    This was once a proud man and now Rooney’s are forcing him into the role of a Tom. Shame on your Rooney’s for stripping this man’s pride.

    Not true. He made the original comments himself and after discussion with *whomever*, he backed away and apologized for some of them. Mark of a Man, not a Tom.

  8. You guys are all idiots. This guy has more heart than 98% of the league on a bad day and you sit there and rip him for apologizing when clearly his boss asked him to.

    If your boss asked you to drink their pee you clowns would do it with a smile on your fugly face.

  9. “They were way out of line, and I was speaking out of anger and frustration at the time”.

    At the time…sounds like its been in your head for a while James, not like you just talked to Goodell the day before and had a spontaneous thought, although, maybe he was all roided up when he was doing the interview, guess that would make sense.

    He should have said, “I was in the middle of my Steroid cycle when I conducted the interview and I was very angry at the time”. Then I would find his story much more believeable.

  10. Just avoiding a fine or discipline, which I doubt Goodell would have done anyway.
    Roger’s goot way too many lockout arrests and other crimes to deal with first.

  11. Actions speak louder than words, James will now be judged by his actions on the field. Would be nice to see a bear hug next time he sees the commish.

  12. 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 crook or the devil. 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 in regards to the league management to yourself & do your damn job.

  13. @Chargerdillon

    Big tough guy talking smack behind his computer. Why would you say something like that when if face to face with James you wouldn’t even look at him for fear that he would destroy you. Some people think they are so tough for sitting on here and typing. Grow up….

  14. What about the “others” that called the commish names ? Why not report on their comments ? Are you (PFT) letting them off the hook ?

  15. Yeah send him to Dallas with him and D ware The cowboys would be unstoppable


    Wow, James Harrison’s comments look smarter. You really think that PIT would trade a perennial pro-bowler just because he talked som ish in a magazine? You’re high.

    That being said, what he said wasn’t smart, and now he’ll play the BP card. If you’re not familiar it’s the “I’m sorry” card. Ugh James, just when I thought you’d grown an extra set, you disappoint me.

  16. I’m as big a Steeler fan as there is, but, I’m so tired of Harrison’s running off at the mouth.

    The continual comments and then apologies are tiresome.

    Personally, I dont’ think, for one minute, that the players he named are REALLY going to be so quick forgive and forget.

    On a side note, all of these interviewers should start taping the interviews so we could see just how “out of context” the comments were.

    “Sorry”, is quickly become the most meaningless word in the dictionary.

  17. James: “I’m deeply sorry for anything that I’ve ever done in my entire life that may have upset or disrespected anyone, ever… really. I’m a much more mature, focused, respectful person than I was when I did or said those things that may have upset or offended you whenever that was over the course of my entire life and I really, truly regret having behaved that way”. Turns towards agent and asks “there, think that’ll keep me from getting fined, suspended, sued or shot-at-with-a-bazooka-by-my-former-girlfriends?”

  18. I don’t like Goodell. I think he is the wrong man for the job. I do beleive that James was out of line with his comments, and I think he was right to apologize. I still think the Steelers sitting him for one game would be the right thing to do.

  19. what a cry baby what happened to the tough
    guy with the guns no wonder his team mates pay him no attention he is a sissy

  20. Im sure this was sincere.

    After all he made the comments. Was defiant when confronted afterwards. And the first days after management can contact players, he has a sudden change of heart.

    Definitely sincere.

  21. Who cares…he will say something else just as stupid tomorrow, or the next day…that’s what loudmouths do.

    He only needs to apologize for being a douche dispenser.

  22. Wait a minute…….”out of context” has now become “way out of line”?

    Sounds like someone is down on his knees like a rat eating cheese hoping he doesn’t get suspended!

  23. A Tom??? Serious??? U sir are as ignorant as mr. Harrison… If he would learn to just play football and not announce that ” he plays to hurt people” I bet he wouldn’t get fined so heavily… The man is a clown and I couldn’t be happier he’s on a team with a rapist and a dancing drunk…keep ur mouth shut Harrison ur an embarrassment..

  24. I’m sure it’s very sincere considering he just met with the owner and coach, the past 2 days. Conversation-Rooney -“James, we’re not happy with the inflammatory comments you have made during the lockout.” Harrison- “Man, you know they be taking sh*t outta context an gettin it all twisted Mr. Rooney.” Rooney- “Well James we need you to take care of a little damage control, I wrote up a couple of sentences on these cue cards that I need you to read to James Walker from ESPN over the telephone.” Harrison-“Then we be straight?” Rooney-“Right On James, just keep your polesmoker closed and tackle people ok. Stay Classy Pittsburgh!

  25. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I find the neutering of James Harrison quite entertaining. First, they took his money. Second, told him he can’t hit anyone… and now, he can’t talk…. LMAO! Hey James…. do you have any self respect left…. why not retire and leave with some dignity….. maybe Hines Ward can give you a ride.

  26. Harrison is a loud mouth, I don’t think that will change. I’m semi-impressed that he “apologized”, but that doesn’t change the fact that he can’t keep his mouth shut.

    If the Rooney family wanted him to apologize, then he should apologize. They pay him millions, he represents their “product”. He is an employee, it’s that simple.

  27. All you haters that want Harrison cut, you would just like to see him on your team.. Do you think any team would cut a guy like Harrison for those comments? psshhh.. retards

  28. James james james…..don’t ya know………..that every yinzer in the burgh( not you Deb, you’re a fraud) would give up their firstborn if only u could win us another superbowl, have you been paying attenion?…….hell get drunk, drive and rape some college chick………we always have excuses

  29. James apologized long ago for the gay slur he used in commenting on Goodell, and immediately went to his teammates to work out his issues with them personally. He isn’t saying he approves of Goodell. He’s saying he lost his temper and went too far in his criticism–which is true. He is not dumb, as you cretins love to believe. He’s a hot-tempered guy who got carried away. I thought the team should take a hard line with him, but apparently they’ve done what they felt was necessary and that’s it. Goodell has no authority to do anything. As for cutting him … you wish. 🙄

    @nflofficeadmin …

    Your deliberately racist Uncle Tom garbage was worse than anything James said.

    @drgfri …

    Roethlisberger did apologize to his organization, his teammates, and his fans for acting like an idiot. He had no reason to apologize to a woman the medical exam showed wasn’t raped, who lied to authorities and wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars filing a false complaint. Why don’t you apologize to real rape victims for playing games with such a serious subject just to annoy rival football fans?

    And Pittsburgh’s players and fans are just as “classy” as any other team’s. From the way these posts read, when you guys aren’t here, most of you are scribbling notes on bathroom walls.

  30. daburgher, i was scrolling down to post the exact same thing you just said! it’s like hines ward, everyone hates the guy but just about every coach and player in the nfl would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to have him on their team. 99% of the people that post negative things about the steelers are just buffoons that are whining because their team can’t beat em

  31. ravens26 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 12:39 PM
    “Stupid is as stupid does. Another fine representative of the Steeler family.”

    Wow, all those yearly beat-downs by the Steelers have really gotten to you huh?

  32. I’ve grown tired of society needing to be apologized to every time some person says something another person finds offensive or hurtful. Get some thicker skin. The fairy tale belief that someday everyone is going to like everyone else is just that a fairy tale. I prefer hearing a persons honest opinion. IMO it’s much better than hearing a disingenuous apology later because the people that lack the stones to speak their mind need to hear it so they don’t feel so bad about not having the stones to speak their minds.

  33. I live in Pittsburgh. Every tv and radio station carried Harrison today. If you want to hear a whinner. please try to hear him. I’m going to check youtube. I hope its on there so I can watch again. I can not stop laughing What an a_ _

  34. Why am I stuck with the image of Willie Mays Hayes backing up around first base headed back to the dugout?

  35. @gfan8611 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 1:33 PM
    “I’ve grown tired of society needing to be apologized to every time some person says something another person finds offensive or hurtful. Get some thicker skin.”

    Go insult your boss’s boss and then tell him to grow thicker skin… see how far that gets you. This is clearly a case of the adults being back in the room. A large majority of these players clearly have no self control.

  36. @gfan8611 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 1:33 PM
    I’ve grown tired of a society of self centered, self entitled, ego maniacs who are too stupid to understand that you don’t call out the boss, commisioner, whomever in the company you work for in an interview for a freaking magazine.

    I’m sure Roger goodell has some pretty thick skin, but maybe, just maybe, these boneheads should think just once before opening their yaps.

  37. Sure James, apologies that aren’t forced mean a heck of alot more than when they are. Go do another cycle buddy. The Steelers brass has class from the top down to Coach Tomlin who is a stud, unfortunately for them their players and most of their fans do not.

  38. all of you fans were praising him & lauding his hits & actions last year…….. he was honest with his feelings then & now……. so when he goes all ballistic & express himself & after some questionable fines last season now you want to bury him…….that spells FANATIC to me. & dallas is my favorite team but i see a lot of you cats getting caught up in anothers mans drama…. go watch the or soap operas if you want to get emotional about OTHER PEOPLES LIVES


  39. I could buy “anger and frustration at the time” if some reporter caught him right after a game, or right after he was fined. But this is a controlled environment in a one on one interview he sat down with the writer for long after the season was over. That piece of the “apology” is not credible in the least and puts in doubt the sincerity of the entire rest of it.

  40. @robmix8 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 2:07 PM

    I think most of the people here just want him to STFU and play by the rules.

    And you stated you were a Dallas fan twice.

    Don’t worry we won’t go there..

  41. even in his statement, he admits regrets and crossing the line but still doesnt apologize to goodell.

    harrison is truly the scum of the earth. goodell works for the owners, not the players. why would he bend over backwards to help you when (1) he doesnt work for the players and (2) you called he a “crook” and “devil”.

  42. You can tell the ignorant people on here. They keep accusing Ben of rape, when it was proven that there was no rape. Do you people really think that by saying it makes it so? Just because you hate the Steelers it is childish to make up things that are not true.

    Deb makes a very good point in her post above.
    Much better than mine.

  43. This “apology” was clearly written by his agent. These insencere apology statements all sound the same by putting the onus of anger on others, almost as if they came from someone who went to law school!

  44. wow, what a surprise… you are employed once again so now it’s time to apologize… hahaha

  45. After criticizing James for what he said about both his teammates and GODell, I will now give him credit for this statement. While I clearly believe his discussions with both Tomlin and Rooney led to this statement, he still had to want to do it and he did. He comes across as someone that would not do anything unless he wanted to (ie visit the Whitehouse, etc). So I will assume he was at least in part convinced he was wrong. Good job James to man up to that. Now, this is over. GODell won’t do anything about it.

    Now James, just play football, and be quiet.

    BTW some of the things that some posters are saying on this thread show how out of control THEY are! Wow!


  46. So, because Egregious was “angry and frustrated” at the time of his breakdown, that makes it all right? Like he was “angry and frustrated” when he kicked down the bathroom door to slap his terrified girlfriend around? Like that whack job from Norway was “angry and frustrated” when he went on his killing rampage?

    Kick the dickhead out of the game. With a little luck he’ll have an “angry and frustrated” finger tick when he is pointing his obscene big boy toys at his steroid swollen head.

  47. @holeinone09 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 2:39 PM

    You’re kidding right? Really? You now give him credit?

    Read what CKL posted. Anger and frustration in a one on one interview.

    You steeler fans continue to amaze us with your balck n gold blinders.

  48. connie73 says:
    Jul 29, 2011 1:47 PM
    “I live in Pittsburgh. Every tv and radio station carried Harrison today. If you want to hear a whinner. please try to hear him. I’m going to check youtube. I hope its on there so I can watch again. I can not stop laughing What an a_ _”

    I don’t believe you live in Pittsburgh at all.
    You live in “Bash every Steelers thread-ville”
    What an a_ _.

  49. He should apologize for some dumb remarks, but the level of hysteria from the Steelers haters is laughable.

    Kicked out of the league…really?

    As long as Ray Lewis is portrayed as a team leader and featured in the NFL Network promo’s then Harrison’s critics can STFU.

    Verbal gaffs no way near approach lieing and tampering with evidence (bloody clothes) in a murder investigation of two people.

  50. @jw731 …

    Honey, I’m not sure what part of me you consider fraudulent, but the only difference between me online and in person is that I’m gentler in person. I say the same things, but softly and with a smile.

    As for being a fraudulent Steeler fan because I don’t living in Pittsburgh … you’re a fool. I’ve been a diehard fan for 34 years and love the team as much as anyone born in Western PA.

    @CKL …

    James is brighter than people give him credit for being. But he has a chip on his shoulder and tends to go off half-c*cked. The heat of the moment can last a while with him. He gets something in his head and stews on it, keeping himself riled up. After reading the reporter’s comments, I imagine that guy really encouraged James to let it all out during the four-day interview. And when you condense four days of grumbling into one article, they’ll pack an extra wallop. James has been in the league a while and should have known better–especially when it came to talking about his teammates and other players outside the locker room. He was also foolish to pose for a photo the played up a negative stereotype of players–and black men–as ganstas. I don’t have a problem with him criticizing the league–only with the language he used to do it in this instance.

    Sometimes with a stubborn man, it does take having people he respects point out the damage he can do to himself and the team by venting without restraint. I don’t think he’s changed his mind about the league–nor has he indicated that. But I’m sure he’s sincere in wishing he’d handled it more appropriately.

  51. @ Deb, I think the interviewer seemed like a DB when I heard him speak, but it would be helpful if the tape was made public.

    If this were Harrison’s first rodeo so to speak as far as making controversial comments, I would be more inclined to think ok, fine it’s a one off. Pretty much everyone deserves a mulligan when they say something crazy to the media. Since it isn’t that for him though, I’m not as certain I can believe he’s learned his lesson.

    Then again I was one of the few Pats fans who didn’t have a problem with what BB did to Wes much as I love the guy and think he meant no real harm. Coach’s rules are coach’s rules.

  52. Did I read Deb’s posting correctly, she is not even from Pittsburgh? As someone who was born at West Penn Hospital, received my undergraduate degree from Pitt and married my wife in Heinz Chapel, I am shocked. Deb, you are indeed a fraud, not to mention someone prone to mixing one part fact with four parts fiction.

    The “Stillers” need a new quarterback, one who will not embarrass them.

  53. Apologize…………..Apologize for what. God-dell is the one stealing money from Harrison.

    Harrison is just telling it like it is. God-dell Should be the commish for the Ice Skating League not Professional Football.

  54. @moderators …

    You wouldn’t post a harmless Wizard of Oz analogy but you posted Hobartbaker calling our player a “dickhead”? Someday you really must explain your thought processes to me.

  55. @antibenapalooza …

    I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to you that I don’t give a damn what you think. You have the IQ of a squirrel. From what I’ve seen, you don’t think at all. Fate determined that sperm meet egg and spawn you in Western Pennsylvania. Woo-hoo. I can’t imagine what that has to do with being an “authentic” fan. And I certainly can’t imagine what getting some poor mentally confused woman to legally commit to you in a Pittsburgh chapel has to do with football fandom.

    Being a fan is about loving and supporting a team. I’ve loved and supported the Steelers through thick and thin for 34 years. And during a letter exchange a few years ago, Dan Rooney asked me to keep supporting the Steelers. I don’t think he’s aware that “antibenpalooza” thinks he’s supposed to vet Steeler Nation.

    As for that fact v. fiction, nonsense … I told you before, I’m more than willing to debate the facts of Ben’s case with you anytime you want to pull out the case files and the medical reports and the DA’s statements to the media and the witness statements and the other official documents so we can have an intelligent discussion. But you don’t want to do that because it would require both effort and a mental capacity you don’t possess. You’d rather just declare Ben is a rapist with no supporting evidence and declare that anyone who disputes you is spinning fiction. You’re a sorry excuse for a Steelers fan if you’re willing to think the Rooneys would keep him on board without checking the facts of the case. But then … you’re just a sorry lil pissant coward all the way ’round, aren’t you?

    Have a nice day 🙂

  56. @CKL …

    Just meant I hope he’s learned his lesson about how much he can say in public. That reporter was with him four days and probably smarmed over him the whole time, agreeing with him, and encouraging him to “let loose.”

    Was just telling that Welker story to my mom. Feel just like you … thought it was hilarious, but really admired BB for handling it the way he did. Was telling Mom stories about #85 and saying it will be interesting to see how Belichick handles him 🙂

  57. @ Deb…Wes has a dirty little sense of humor to him. Since we can’t usually post links, go to Wes Welker online . org (run the words together) and read the article called Wes Welker at Royal Ascot.

    Please tell me your mom is a Pats fan. It’s only fair since my mom is a Steelers fan. 😀 (I wouldn’t be surprised if I had tried to correct the pastor in church when he kept talking about Immaculate Conception saying NO it is the Immaculate RECEPTION. :p)

  58. What a wuss.

    Harrison spoke from the heart when he made his comments.

    Harrison is now speaking from his wallet.

    He will be back to whining and complaining soon after his first “unsportsmanlike” hit results in another fine.

  59. @CKL …

    You’re kidding … your mom is a Steelers fan? That’s hilarious! No … I brought the whole family into the Steelers fold. Fell in love with them as a kid, converted my brother–who became rabid–and our parents. My brother’s kids have been decked out in Steelers gear since the day they were born. Even my closest friends, who don’t know a first down from a forward pass, will tune in to our Super Bowls and pray for the Steelers 🙂

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