James Harrison was among the players identified in an Al-Jazeera report in December, the same one that famously implicated Peyton Manning. Harrison, along with fellow NFL players Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, and Julius Peppers were referenced by Charles Sly in secretly recorded videos in regard to also having received treatments at the Guyer Clinic in Indianapolis.
Sly later recanted his accounts, though we found out that this was after Peyton Manning’s investigators had tracked him down and determined he was the source of the statements. Sly didn’t know he was being recorded, and there is a genuine question as to whether he–never having chosen to publicly come forward himself–was telling the truth when he didn’t know others were watching, or when he was trying to kill the story.
The NFL had not questioned those implicated for several months, but finally sent inquiries to set up interviews. Harrison took to Instagram to post his response:
It is highly doubtful that the commissioner will concede to these demands from Harrison (who wants said he would not piss on Goodell if he were on fire).
Attorneys also sent this request to the NFL, which Harrison also posted.
I doubt Harrison has much of a leg to stand on here, and I don’t think this tact will work, though it will be interesting if Harrison takes a hardline stance of not meeting with Goodell other than under these demands.
Yes, Sly recanted. If there is ultimately no other evidence, then it would be flimsy to make a finding on his original statements that were secretly recorded. It’s also certainly understandable that players would be skeptical of the commissioner during an investigation.
That said, there is enough smoke based on those allegations to follow up, and to at least interview the players in question. If players (Manning in this case) could track down witnesses and garner retractions, it would be similar to the Alex Rodriguez matter. The league can’t just pretend there was no cause for concern. If anything, it’s surprising it took this long.