Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s continued struggle against the NFL just hit a monumental moment.
The Steelers seem to have a special relationship with the NFL. The back and forth between the NFL and Harrison, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal has been going on for quite some time over the national publication of an Al-Jazeera report that contained now-recanted statements linking those players, along with now-retired Peyton Manning, to PEDs.
The league has been vocal about their intentions on interviewing these players and had gone so far as to make public letters they’ve sent to the players at the end of June that detailed their plan to interview these players, specifically schedule the interviews when the players were scheduled to arrive at training camp.
The NFLPA responded with their request for more information as to what they were basing their request to interview these players for. The letters made no direct or indirect threat to not cooperate with the investigation; it merely requested what the basis of the investigation was considering the statements made from the documentary were now fully recanted.
The start of training camp came and gone and no one heard a thing about interviews taking place, being scheduled, canceled or anything else. When James Harrison himself was asked about it initially he refused to address it and then said that he considered the matter closed because he had received no further communication from the league.
Late Monday evening
the NFL sent to Harrison and the others detailing their intentions on interviewing them by Aug. 25
and threatening indefinite suspension of the players do not cooperate with the investigation.
Looks to me no more that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to flex his authority muscle yet again considering that although he ultimately won his ridiculous case against
that drug on for two years he was completely emasculated in the public in the process.
I have a lot of questions on this. Why would the NFL not just show up on the dates they already lined out and forced an interview out of these players? If they feel they have the power to make these interviews happen why back off like that at the start of camp?
Also why are they intent on having an interview because they can’t “accept your unilateral assertion that the cursory, untested statements you have submitted satisfy the players’ obligations.”? Why aren’t the affidavits enough? How are they different if they are read aloud rather than written on paper?
The bad part is that Harrison and the rest of these players are going to have to give in and schedule these interviews. If they want to push the issue of questioning whether or not the NFL has the authority to haul them into an interview based on false allegations and then suspend them if they don’t like their written responses, then they haven’t been paying attention to the NFL.
This is the league that literally suspended Terrell Pryor for his violations of NCAA rules prior to his entry in the NFL Supplemental Draft. They can invoke the clauses that the Steelers warned about during the ratification of this CBA and suspend at will.