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Former Steelers LB James Harrison fires back at media reaction to ‘envelope’ claim

Former NFL linebacker James Harrison has managed to make waves after admitting to allegedly receiving payment from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin for laying devastating hits. It is safe to say that his admission has sparked quite the reaction from around the league.

Harrison claims Tomlin handed him an envelope after being fined for an illegal hit against Mohamed Massaquoi during Week 6 of 2010 NFL season. He has since taken to Instagram to provide some clarification:

“Wow y’all really comparing what I said to BOUNTYGATE?!?” Harrison said. “Mike T. Has NEVER paid me for hurting someone or TRYING to hurt someone or put a bounty on ANYBODY!

Harrison added that the $75,000 fine he initially received was in response to the NFL’s efforts to save face amid the ongoing concussion lawsuits.

“If you knew the full story of what happened back then you’d know that BS fine for a Legal Play wasn’t even penalized during the game. The league was getting pressure because the first concussion lawsuits were starting and they had to look like they cared about player safety all of a sudden. Before that they had been SELLING a photo of THAT SAME PLAY FOR $55 on the NFL website with other videos of the NFL’S GREATEST HITS that the league Profited On back then.

“When the league had to start pretending like they cared about player safety they took all those things down off their website and they started fining guys ridiculous amounts for the same plays they used to profit off of. EVERYBODY knew it — even these same media people and all the fans that were sending money to me and the team to cover the fine. AGAIN AT NO TIME did Mike T. EVER suggest anybody hurt anybody or that they’d be rewarded for anything like that. GTFOH with that BS!!!”

Harrison’s comments likely come in response to the ones made by New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and his role regarding Bountygate. Payton did not hold back when it came to addressing the prospect of the NFL opting to cover it up as opposed to looking further into the situation.

Harrison is seemingly trying to justify the payment from Tomlin as a compensatory reward for a hit neither felt should have been a fine. Regardless, it remains to be seen whether or not this explanation makes the situation any less ethical since fines are supposed to be paid out by the players.

Payton has clearly been struggling with expressing his distaste for the league after the suspension cost him a $6 million salary for the season. Meanwhile, the Steelers are now in a state of damage control after president Art Rooney II refuted Harrison’s claims.

Although the severity of such accusations should be more than enough to draw an investigation, Payton feels that the NFL is in no rush to unearth another scandal. After all, they are still in the process of trying to keep the 2020 NFL season on track amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.