We Made National Headlines But They Mostly Got The Story Wrong

A week ago, we released an episode of Going Deep featuring Willie's former teammate James Harrison. Harrison was an outstanding player - 2x Super Bowl Champion, 5x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st Team All-Pro, 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. But he's also just a bad ass, cool dude. It was a great interview and since Willie is his friend, the conversation was very free flowing and a lot of fun stories came up. But when asked about how much he's been fined including what the biggest fine he's ever received for a single hit, Harrison responded like this:

This episode dropped last Thursday, we had even dropped a new episode f/ former Saints WR Marques Colston this week. But some Browns beat writers picked up on the clip on yesterday and wanted to bring it to light. Some Steelers fans fired back and all of a sudden, it became a national story and it was being written about on ProFootballTalk, TMZ, espn, etc.

This morning, I awoke to it being covered on all the Sports Talk Shows like Get Up, PTI, and being the lead story on First Take with flashy headlines like "Bountygate 2.0". 

While we appreciate getting credited correctly, they almost all got the story wrong. The story has nothing to do with a bounty. This isn't like what Gregg Williams' Saints teams did and put prices on heads of key players, like Vikings Quarterback Brett Favre. Now a lot has time has passed and people probably don't remember much about former Browns Wide Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, but the guy was nowhere near a player the caliber of Brett Favre. He wasn't even a player you'd want to take out of a game. The year the play happened was 2010, Massaquoi's 2nd season. That year, he had 36 catches for 483 yards and 2 TDs. No disrespect to him, the average NFL career is three seasons, and he surpassed that with four, but my point is, no NFL Coach or Assistant Coach is worried about Massaquoi to the point where they would put use monetary motivations to have him physically removed from a game.

James Harrison responded today and said as much without belittling Massaquoi in the processes: 

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

Luckily, the bottomline took Harrison's statement and properly summarized in the instance in a few words while also properly crediting us, shoutout to the desk.

The full story is much more about how the NFL was moving away from helmet-to-helmet hits and fining players inordinate amounts in order to try and get them to stop sooner. If you'd like to get the full story, check the interview wherever you listen to pods: Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher