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Rodney Harrison: NFL 'Is Turning Into a Soft, Pansy Sport'

Jun 8, 2009 – 10:59 AM
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Michael David Smith

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When Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison were introduced as the newest members of NBC's NFL commentating team, I figured that NBC was trying a "good cop/bad cop" routine.

Dungy could appear on Football Night in America to offer his analysis from his perspective as the consummate nice guy, while Harrison could play the heel, ripping everyone and everything.

In one of Harrison's first interviews since getting the NBC job, he strongly indicated that the bad cop will, indeed, be his role.

Harrison said this to Peter King of
"This is football in the National Football League. I hit a guy with my forearm in his throat or his chest area, and they're trying to fine me. It's football! It's not my fault if the guy curls up like a little girl because he doesn't want to get hit. Are you kidding me? And then I get hit with a $120,000 fine because I hit Jerry Rice. Do you think I'm going to let Jerry Rice catch a slant route in the end zone? I don't care what it costs me, I'm going to try to knock his head off.

"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 ... They need to put some more defensive players in that NFL front office. [NFL director of football operations and finemeister] Gene Washington is an offensive guy. Do you think he wants to turn on the TV and see his fellow receivers get their head knocked off? He never liked me in the first place. But that's fine. They need to put defensive players in the office so we won't have such a biased opinion from one guy."
Harrison may have a decent point when he says the NFL goes too far in protecting offensive players. We've all seen players get flagged for unnecessary roughness on what was really a good, clean hard tackle.

But Harrison is wrong to portray himself as a victim in all this. The reason Harrison got fined so often is that he really was a dirty player. When Harrison left the field for the TV studio, the NFL got a little less dirty. That doesn't mean it's a pansy league; it means the league now has one fewer cheap shot artist.
Filed under: Sports