Over the past year, Steelers linebacker James Harrison has turned plenty of heads for brutal hits he’s made both on and off the field. Harrison made arguably the most impactful hit of the year with his mouth just a few days ago when, in an interview with Men’s Journal, he threw teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall under the bus and had some very unkind comments for everybody’s favorite commissioner, Roger Goodell.
The aftermath of Harrison’s rhetoric has created a firestorm of controversy and outrage within the pro football community, with many fans and media members calling for some kind of disciplinary action—either a release from the Steelers or a suspension. While it’s not surprising Harrison’s antics made headline news, it is surprising to see how many people have overacted to this and are basically calling for his head.
Does anybody really believe that a first-rate organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers—one that certainly doesn’t make rash decisions regarding its players—is going to suddenly panic and release one of the cornerstones of its stout defense? Especially over something he said? If they are going to rid themselves of the hard-hitting linebacker, they’ll likely do it in a trade and get something back in return, like when they parted ways with troublemaker Santonio Holmes.
As appalled as some people were by Harrison’s comments, no crime was committed, as freedom of speech still exists in this country. Granted, some disciplinary action will probably be taken thanks to Harrison’s particularly harsh words towards Goodell, when you speak out against your boss in any profession, you’re not likely to get away with it scot free.
But any punishment harsher than a fine and brief suspension would be down right idiotic. It’s not like Harrison stole candy from a baby or poisoned the Steel City’s drinking water. He flapped his gums with some stupid and baseless comments. Having to deal with Roethlisberger and Mendenhall in the wake of this tongue lashing towards them will serve as enough punishment for Harrison.