As the NFL Players Association formulates a plan for responding to the NFL’s interview-or-else mandate directed to Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Packers linebacker Julius Peppers, Steelers linebacker James Harrison, and free-agent defensive lineman Mike Neal, Harrison is willing to sit out, if it’s the right thing to do.
Even though Harrison claims he has nothing to hide — he reiterated an invitation to conduct the interview at his house, with Commissioner Roger Goodell attending — Harrison realizes that compelling players to give evidence in response to unsubstantiated allegations opens the door for a wide variety of outcomes.
“Somebody could come out and say James Harrison is a pedophile,” Harrison said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “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.”
As a result, Harrison will take the advice of the NFLPA.
“I’ll do what I have to do,” Harrison said. “They’ll do what they have to do. 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.”
With the deadline for talking nine days away, the only thing for the NFLPA to do will be to seek an immediate ruling from a third party regarding whether Article 46 trumps the PED policy on the question of whether players are compelled to provide testimony that can be used against them for PED allegations unrelated to a positive test or a violation of the law.