After it was found out on Monday that the NFL is threatening to suspend the players reported on in an Al Jazeera documentary who do not cooperate with the investigation, one of the players implicated — Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison — had a chance to respond Tuesday.
Harrison told reporters Tuesday that he would be willing to do the interview, but he is frustrated with how the NFL has handled the process thus far. If he and the other players involved in the investigation do not work with the NFL’s investigators, they will be suspended by the league indefinitely.
The fight between the NFL and players accused of using performance enhancing drugs by Al Jazeera has been going on for months now. Back in June, Harrison said he wanted to the interview between himself and the NFL to take place at his home. The interview has yet to take place and has left some wondering why.
When asked why not get the interview over with, Harrison was blunt in his response.
“If that’s the case, then somebody could come out and say James Harrison is a pedophile,” Harrison said. “They are going to suspend me, put me under investigation for being a pedophile just because somebody said it? I’m not going to answer questions for every little thing some Tom, Dick and Harry comes up with.”
Harrison is among a group of four players that include Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and linebacker Mike Neal, who is currently a free agent. These players have gone along with the NFL Players Association’s claim that the NFL does not have sufficient evidence to conduct an investigation.
According to league policies, the league must have “sufficient credible documented evidence” in order to go after the players. the NFLPA, which has not spoken publicly, believes the NFL does not have that sort of evidence.
Harrison went onto say that he is willing to sit out if the NFL does not meet his demands for an interview.
“I’ll do what I have to do. They’ll do what they have to do,” said Harrison about the NFL. “We’ll make that decision when that time comes…I just am doing what I’m advised to do (by the NFLPA). It’s the right thing to do.”
With Deflategate seeming to near an end in the past few weeks, it seems that we have another fight on our hands between the NFL and its players association.