Marvin Harrison, Even as Alleged Gunman, Eludes Media Attention

Tom FroemmingCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2009

In today's sports environment, keeping quiet can definitely pay off in the end.

Year after year, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison was one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, but other flashier receivers like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss garnered more media attention and endorsement money.

Harrison wouldn't have had it any other way. He has always shied away from the spotlight, and even admitted he'd rather play in an empty stadium than in front of thousands of screaming fans.

It always seemed like this extreme shyness was counter-productive, like he always should have been more revered, celebrated, and famous. Now that Harrison's days as a top wideout appear to be over and he's in the middle of a shooting, however, it appears his ability to be boring and deflect media attention has finally paid off.

ESPN The Magazine is reporting a second witness has accused Harrison of being the gunman in a shooting incident that took place in Philadelphia on April 29. Robert Nixon joined Dwight Dixon—both of whom were victims in the shooting—in pointing the finger at Harrison.

Nixon initially told police he had no knowledge about the shooting, and the Philadelphia district attorney decided against pressing charges against Harrison last week due to a lack of evidence.

Click here for the complete report from ESPN The Magazine.

You can form your own opinion about what actually happened at Chuckie's Garage last April, and none of us may ever know what really happened. The point here is Marvin Harrison has been the beneficiary of an odd breed of media bias. I guess it's more like a media apathy.

Imagine if the same thing were happening to a T.O., Moss, or any other star athlete with Hall of Fame credentials like Harrison. The kind of media attention would border on the insane. Instead, you're more likely to hear about Tony Dungy's expected retirement than the latest news on Harrison.

Many professional sports leagues are starting to make great strides in educating incoming players of the challenges they'll face, the attention they'll receive, and the situations they should avoid. They should also be urged to shy away from the spotlight, and simply be as boring as possible.

That way, if they ever are unfortunately involved in an incident that could shine a negative light on themselves and their league, the media will be too wrapped up in coaching changes, playoff games, Hall of Fame voting, and college quarterbacks having shoulder surgery, and the news will simply slip by as a relative whisper.