NEW YORK — Last Sunday, Pittsburgh outside linebacker James Harrison viciously tackled two members of the Cleveland Browns, causing them to fall to the ground and preventing them from completing the play they had presumably discussed in the huddle. Characteristically, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement yesterday morning clarifying the league’s position on “painful, unnecessary contact”.
“In past decades, some players drove others to ground repeatedly with impunity. That was before seatbelts, warning labels on hair dryers, and FDA approved fish. Now we are civilized. Now we fine defensive players for open field form tackles. A league with a reputation upheld by the irreproachable conduct of its athletes off the field, particularly those from Pittsburgh, has no place for this sort of vulgarity.”
The hits in question are currently under investigation. The first incident, which involved Harrison using both of his arms to bring down the Cleveland ball carrier, has been criticized as “excessive” and “something Ben Roethlisbereger would do to an underage woman”. The Browns’ running back, drafted first round out of D-III powerhouse University of Chicago, sustained several bruises.
The second hit has received even harsher reviews from European sports analysts and caring mothers nationwide. Harrison this time collided with a Browns receiver at well above half speed, immediately driving both of the receiver’s knees and one of his elbows to the ground. The receiver, who hardly had the ball for 3 seconds before the unanticipated collision, was unprepared.
“As far as my unusually blond and well-conditioned hair allowed me see, it looked like one big man pushed a sightly smaller man without asking,” opined a female ESPN correspondent. “I think one of them had the ball. That’s not a touchdown.”
“From the video, it looks like Harrison intended to drive the offensive player to the ground without asking him first,” an NFL spokesperson stated. “We have to practice some sort of consistency in our disciplinary measures- if petty allegations about something as vague as ‘sexual assault’ amount to a full 4-game suspension for Roethlisberger, Harrison must at least serve some significant sentence in prison.”
Goodell is weighing several punishments, but seems inclined toward Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s recommendation of death by lethal concussion.