About one month ago The Shadow League reported that Peyton Manning virtually cleared himself of all claims and suspicion from charges of PED use that stemmed from his name being mentioned in an Al-Jazeera article. We don’t know what was said between the now retired QB legend and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but we do know Manning walked out of that off free as a bird.
In our piece, titled “Peyton Manning Cleared of PED Use, Others Face Further Scrutiny”, I mention the NFL Players Association’s stated hope that Peyton hadn’t thrown the other players mentioned in the story, LB James Harrison, LB Julius Peppers, LB Clay Mathews, and former DL Mike Neal, under the biggest, yellowest, ugliest bus ever culled from a 1st grader’s nightmare.
“As a former player, Peyton Manning is free to do whatever he believes is in his best interest,” the NFLPA said in a statement at the time. “The Union knows that he understands the rights of players under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and would never do anything to hurt or undermine active players in support of those rights.”
Since that time Pittsburgh Steelers veteran LB James Harrison has been the loudest and squeakiest wheel over what he feels is the disrespect that Roger Goodell has visited upon the accused, with no evidence. Meanwhile, Goodell let Manning walk.
Harrison’s tone toward Goodell isn’t really news at all. He has made it very clear how he feels about the NFL commissioner on multiple occasions. He called the commish a “devil” and a “crook”, and several homophobic slurs, during a 2011 interview published in Men’s Journal.
“If it leads to the hands of that crook, I mean Roger Goodell, he can do whatever he wants,” Harrison said recently.”Whatever evidence they might have or reasoning for questioning for me is out of my control, I don’t know. I wouldn’t have a problem with it being filmed live. I’ve been prosecuted and persecuted publicly in the media by them for something I didn’t do, so I don’t see why we couldn’t have the media there and do a live interview.”
Harrison, Clay and the other accused were initially scheduled to meet with Goodell before August 25 or risk suspension. However, Harrison agreed to meet with the commissioner at his office in New York City on August 30.
Harrison’s consternation with the NFL and its commissioner aren’t totally off kilter considering the lack of evidence to the guilt of the accused, and that fact that Manning waltzed into the NFL office, knowing the precedent such a deed would set, while leaving his former associates to fend for themselves.
It wasn’t like Manning couldn’t wait. Heck, he could have done whatever he wished considering he was retired. By choosing to go in, Manning forced the remaining players to come out swinging for their professional pride and dignity. What happens next is anyone’s guess.