While the Indianapolis Colts are one win away from heading back to Miami, where, in 2007, they won their first Super Bowl ring since 1970, former Colt Marvin Harrison, who played in that game, may be headed to a much darker place.
In the Feb. 2010 issue of GQ magazine, an article called "The Dirtiest Player" recounted the events of the shooting that took place on April 29, 2008 through the eyes of Robert Nixon.
The article, which is a brilliantly disturbing piece re-created from interviews, court filings, and police reports, tells the story of the events that took place in broad daylight when the former Indianapolis Colt and Stanley McCray allegedly beat up, and later shot in the hand, the late Dwight Dixon.
A year later, on July 21, 2009, Dixon was riddled with bullets while sitting in his car a half a block from Harrison’s bar "Playmakers."
The GQ article has caused such a stir in major newspapers and magazines that now the Philadelphia police has called in the FBI to help investigate the murder of Dwight Dixon and the newly sworn-in District Attorney of Philadelphia has decided to look a new at the case.
Given the facts, it was always disturbing that Marvin Harrison was never charged in this case. What’s even worse, though, is that as a fan, I always looked up to Marvin. In an era of "me first" receivers shooting their mouths off every time they convert a first down, Marvin was the epitome of class. Even when he made a spectacular catch for a touchdown, he would just hand the ball to the ref and walk back to his spot at the end of the bench and take a seat. I always admired him for that.
He seemed humble and maybe a little quiet, but also a family man and a good father. But as I first heard about this case and the corresponding facts, and certainly after reading the GQ article, I had to accept the painful reality that one of my idols, a guy I looked up to, had a dark side to him; a side that was well-hidden from the public, but there, nonetheless.
It was so well hidden that I hadn’t heard the rumors about his interactions with his teammates, his aloofness, and even his violent temper until the shooting story broke. I was particularly stunned when I found out that Peyton Manning never spent any significant time with his No. 1 receiver until he visited him in Philly one offseason in 2001; that’s four years after Manning had been drafted, and he and Marvin had established themselves as one of the best quarterback/wide receiver tandems in football.
All of this made me very sad. Marvin was supposed to be one of the good guys, and he was someone a lot of football fans looked up to.
I have a feeling that this isn’t going to end well for Marvin, and nothing he did on the field will make up for what I think he was involved in. At best, I will never look at Marvin the same way again. At worst, he will end up in a jail cell and all of his achievements will be tarnished in many fans' eyes.
2010 may end up being a great year for the Colts but a sad one for Marvin Harrison, the fans, and the NFL as a whole.