James Harrison has apologized for referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with an anti-gay word and others in the NFL ripped Harrison, but teammate Lawrence Timmons isn’t among them, saying “there’s a lot of animosity towards Goodell” because heavy player fines.
Harrison’s comments about Goodell, who fined him $100,000 for his hits on opponents last season, were made in a “Men’s Journal” interview and created an immediate commotion.
In addition to calling Goodell “crook,” a “devil,” and using a gay slur in the interview, he said, “I hate him and will never respect him.” In apologizing in a statement posted via Twitter and Facebook, he said the slur “was not intended to be derogatory against gay people in any way. It was careless use of a slang word and I apologize to all who were offended by the remark. I am not a homophobic bigot, and I would never advocate intolerance of gay people.”
Timmons spoke up in Harrison’s defense. “A lot of guys feel a certain way about the fines. The fines, they were ill-advised and came out of nowhere and it wasn’t fair,” he said in a TSN radio interview (transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews). “This is quite a bit of a chunk of change — you’re talking about 20 to 75 grand taken out of your checks. A lot of guys may have kids, three or four mortgages. That hurts. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of animosity towards Goodell.”
Harrison’s statement also clarified comments about his teammates. He had called Mendenhall a “fumble machine” for a fourth-quarter Super Bowl turnover and said that Roethlisberger needed to “stop trying to act like Peyton Manning.” In his statement, Harrison said: “I did make comments about my teammates when I was talking about the emotional Super Bowl loss, but the handful of words that were used and heavily publicized yesterday were pulled out of a long conversation and the context was lost. Obviously, I would never say that it was all Ben's or Rashard's fault that we lost the Super Bowl. That would be ridiculous. Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates.”