As if professional sports didn’t have enough PR issues these days with steroid scandals and incarcerated superstars, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison just added Presidential snubbing to the ever-growing list of public perception infractions.
Harrison turned down an invitation to the White House, along with the rest of the Super Bowl champion Steelers, to meet and be honored by President Obama. Why? He said it’s not that big a deal to him.
It’s just another case of professional athletes being out of touch with every day Americans and their sport paying the PR price for it. I mean come on James, whether you agree with his policies or not, he’s the leader of the free world and he commands some level of respect. In case you haven’t heard, he’s kind of a big deal.
Give Harrison one thing, at least he’s consistently stupid – he passed up on the chance to meet President Bush after the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2006. The game went on after that mistake too. After all, at the end of the day does the world change if James Harrison doesn’t go to the White House? No. But it’s another unnecessary negative PR hit that the NFL could do without.
So, memo to all future Super Bowl champions: No matter your political views or views of the president in general, just shut your mouth, suck it up and take a free trip to our nation’s capital. As for James Harrison, he has an NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and two Super Bowl rings, but he still doesn’t have a communications clue. Maybe the third time will be the charm.