In the immediate wake of his career-ending injury and amid speculation that he’ll join NBC’s NFL broadcast team, it seems like Rodney Harrison would have no need to manufacture a presence in the headlines. You’d think, anyway.
For whatever reason, though, he’s out there making a name for himself in the press, this time by coldly slandering the very sport that made him ludicrously wealthy over the last decade or so. You see, according to the USA TODAY, Harrison’s just too much man for the NFL to handle:
“Football now is turning into a soft, pansy sport. This is not volleyball! This is not tennis! This is some of the biggest, fastest, strongest men in the world. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I went out on my own terms. It won’t bother me anymore.”
Harrison’s complaints are largely centered on the boatload of fines handed out for what he perceives to be clean (or at least necessary) hits. The NFL disagrees, of course.
The timing of Harrison’s comments is curious, to say the least. Considering the most famous rule change of the off-season has been the outlawing of the low hit that wrecked Tom Brady’s knee in Week 1 in 2008, we’re not sure why Harrison is taking his stance so strongly. After all, the league is basically protecting Brady, or the very player who catapulted Harrison into relevance (sorry, but nobody’s going to care what Rodney has to say if he’s on 5-11 teams all his career), and Harrison’s going to thank Brady by telling him he was hit cleanly and there was nothing wrong with the play? The master of the Retaliatory Cheap Shot sees nothing contradictory with that notion? Really?
Harrison also wants to see the disparate treatment of defensive players evened out by having more former defenders in the front offices of the NFL, which isn’t a terrible idea. When it comes time to dole out fines, someone does need to stand up for a defender making a hard, tough play that ends in injury and remind the league to penalize the act, not the result. That’s a fair statement to make, and one that also doesn’t substitute elementary school insults for nuance. Harrison would be wise to learn the distinction.