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Old 04-03-2008, 04:10 AM   #1
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Default Steelers hardly above the fray

Steelers hardly above the fray
By Joe Starkey
Thursday, April 3, 2008

"We trust that today's roster move ... will send a message that we will not tolerate this type of conduct."
Apparently, Steelers chairman Dan Rooney forgot to add "unless you're an important player" to that absurd team-released statement, issued March 20 after the Steelers cut wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who had been charged with assaulting his former girlfriend.

The Steelers sent a message, all right, one that is affirmed every time team MVP James Harrison - charged March 8 with assaulting his girlfriend - shows up to work out at the club's South Side practice facility.

It's the same message high school, college and professional sports teams have been sending forever. Namely, that the best players are treated differently than everyone else and routinely are excused for boorish and sometimes even criminal behavior.

That's just business in the pros. Wilson is a fringe player. Harrison's a star. We understand.
It was the Steelers who dragged ethics into the discussion. They didn't have to say anything when they cut Wilson, a move that apparently freed money to sign center Justin Hartwig.

Never mind that the legal process hasn't played out, that Wilson's ex-girlfriend says the story of him walking into a restaurant and punching her was "overblown" and that the charges could very well be dropped. The Steelers were going to do the right thing.


Can we finally smash the myth that the Steelers are somehow above the fray?

The only saints in this league are the ones who play in New Orleans. The Steelers are no more righteous, and no less righteous, than any other franchise operating in a cutthroat industry where the attempt to win regularly trumps good ethics.

That goes for everyone -- the Patriots and Ravens and Cowboys and Dolphins and Bengals.

And, yes, the Steelers.

The Rooneys' reputation as decent, everyday folk is well-earned. They are good people. Professionally, their mission is to win and make money - and in pro football, that is rarely accomplished by playing nice.

If the drive to win leads the Steelers to draft a player who tested positive for marijuana in college, as offensive tackle Marvel Smith did, so be it.

If it means bolstering the backfield by acquiring a player with a questionable history, oh well. Two years ago, the Steelers signed Najeh Davenport, who faced a felony charge of second-degree burglary and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief when he entered the NFL in 2002. He settled the charges by performing 100 hours of community service.

Davenport ran into more trouble last season when he pleaded not guilty to domestic violence, child endangering and unlawful restraint in a confrontation with the mother of his 5-year-old son.

The Steelers did not attempt to send a message by cutting Davenport. They are waiting out the legal process.

Entering the 2006 draft, some teams might have had misgivings about Ohio State receiver Santonio Holmes, seeing as he was the unmarried father of three children by two women. He'd also been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after a 2003 altercation involving Ohio State football players and a group of women, one of whom reportedly sustained a broken jaw.

Holmes, held out of the opening series of the Michigan game as punishment, pleaded not guilty. Charges were dismissed when a prosecution witness reportedly could not identify Holmes as having been involved in the fight. Holmes' attorney told the Columbus Dispatch his client was trying to break up the fight.

The Steelers traded up in the first round to take Holmes, who subsequently was arrested twice in a 25-day span.

A disorderly conduct charge out of Miami was dropped. Holmes later was charged with domestic violence and assault against the mother of one of his children.

In a police affidavit, Lashae Boone alleged that Holmes was "choking (her), throwing her to the ground ... and slamming her into a door."

The Steelers did not attempt to send a message by severing ties with Holmes. They let the legal process play out. Charges were dismissed when Holmes' lawyers assured a Franklin County (Ohio) judge that Holmes was participating in counseling through the NFL.

Rooney claims the Wilson and Harrison incidents were "completely different." That hardly appears to be the case. Both are charged with hitting a woman.

If anything, the Harrison incident seemed scarier. According to a police affidavit, the 6-foot, 242-pound linebacker broke down a bathroom door, snapped his girlfriend's cell phone in half as she tried to call 911 and hit her in the face with an open hand, knocking off her glasses.

Within days, Harrison was back at the Steelers' practice facility, working out with teammates.

Get the message?
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

I guess the rooneys give out the paychecks so I guess they have the right to get rid of anyone they wish and keep who they want.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

Wow, this is new!
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

yes, we understand.. the steelers do not field a team of saints.. how many more articles about this are going to be written?
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

Originally Posted by jjpro11 View Post
yes, we understand.. the steelers do not field a team of saints.. how many more articles about this are going to be written?
I don't know, I think the horse is still breathing!

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Old 04-03-2008, 10:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

Want to make it go away? Want to shut up all the hacks that continue to write about it? Trade or cut Harrison. Simple. We wouldn't have been able to trade Wilson for a pack of bubble gum, but we could probably get some good value for Harrison. For those not willing to part with Silverback in such a manner, well, we're going to continue to take our lumps for it in the media for a while.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers hardly above the fray

if u do look at the situations the 2 are different.. harrison did out of the women not letting him take his child.. ced did it 4 b/c maybe the standoff and made him look like a dick .. so idk.. and writers will beat a dead horse in evry thing that comes up.. i mean look when ben made the statement of a tall wr.. even after ben and hines said they were good they still wrote articles. look at cj and the bengals.. cj said many times over and over again what he wants but ppl still ask him the same ?'s daily

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