PITTSBURGH - What is wrong with people? There are a million or so reasons to ask that question every week, but this time it relates to the NFL's decision to fine Steelers linebacker James Harrison for his hit against the Cleveland Browns on Oct 17.
He made a questionable play, the NFL fined him. He complained about it, but he paid and everyone moved on.
Most people who shared Harrison's outrage were satisfied to vent on talk shows or message boards.
The exception was the person who started a Facebook page advocating people send a dollar to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to pay Harrison's fine.
Why would anyone waste even a dollar to pay a fine for a pro football player who is handsomely rewarded for his hostility?
James Harrison banked a $10 million signing bonus a couple of years ago. Then he immediately collected a $2.555 million roster bonus.
This year he got a $2.8 million reporting bonus.
He needs your dollar like he needs your advice on how to play linebacker.
If the dollar donation is a symbolic gesture, it's still a waste. Put the dollar in the church collection basket or the Salvation Army bucket, or give it to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank so people can feed their kids.
James Harrison isn't a charitable cause.
Your perception of Harrison's style is probably influenced totally by the uniform he wears.
If his hit on Cleveland's Mohammed Massaquoi had been duplicated by Baltimore's Ray Lewis on Steeers receiver Mike Wallace, people would be screaming about what a thug Lewis is.
It all depends on your rooting interest.
Darius Kasparaitis was a disgrace to hockey when he used to irritate Mario Lemieux as a New York Islanders defenseman; when he started playing for the Penguins, he transformed into a savvy master of psychology.
It's doubtful Harrison was ever serious about those retirement threats.
He was probably speaking out of frustration.
Where else can he make the kind of money the NFL offers, and have an outlet for his aggression?
People who say the NFL is taking toughness out of the game are mistaken.
Jack Lambert never had an issue with hits to the heads of opponents, and he was considered a pretty tough guy.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His web log is at altoonamirror.com