James Harrison had a lot of, umm, interesting things to say in his recent interview with Paul Solotaroff for Mens Journal. But when the interview occurred could be even more important than what was said.When Solotaroff was asked yesterday morning on ESPN Radio when the interview occurred, he had a vague and uncertain answer. “When did James and I sit down? it was the middle of hell in Phoenix, Arizona,” said Solotaroff. “It was broiling hot. Sometime, I guess, middle of April? Middle of May.“
Interestingly, in a story published on ESPN.com at almost the exact same time as the ESPN Radio interview, Harrison gives a nearly identical vague and uncertain answer. When ESPN asked when the interview took place, Harrison said “in April or May sometime.”
Of course, it is important that the interview took place in April or May, because the players were locked out in March. And theoretically, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may not be able to discipline Harrison if the interview took place while the players were locked out.
However, later in day on Thursday, when Harrison issued his apology, there was no longer any uncertainty. “I’ll start by offering my apologies for some of the words that I said during the four days in May,” said Harrison.
What makes this more unsettling, is that Harrison and Solotaroff spoke the day before these interviews. And in his ESPN interview, Solotaroff concedes that he, in a sense, gave Harrison permission to lie about the interview if it meant saving his butt. Solotaroff admits telling James, “Listen, whatever you’ve got to say to mend fences is perfectly fine with me.”
So, did the two agree to tell the world that the interview took place in “April or May” to minimize the damage?
This may be the most intriguing piece to this story. You can be certain that the NFL is investigating the matter. And for Harrison’s sake, he better hope the league never finds out that he lied. Because, if Harrison hates how the NFL enforces player safety, then he does not want to see how they will handle a player peeing on spitting on the commissioner.
In the end, power is power. The NFL loves to wield it. And when the league comes knocking, it will be Harrison that is running defenseless over the middle, with Goodell lowering his helmet.
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