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James Harrison, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger Changing Steelers' Image

Joe Starkey notes the image problems the Pittsburgh Steelers have been having recently, of which James Harrison's recent Men's Journal interview is only a small part. Yes, many of Harrison's comments were really bad, but in the broader scheme of things, one might argue that, hey, at least they distracted us from Hines Ward's DUI arrest just a few days before.

And that's not all! There's also Ben Roethlisberger's much-publicized sexual-assault problems, Santonio Holmes, and (much less seriously) Rashard Mendenhall saying really stupid stuff about Osama Bin Laden. This isn't a high-character team, and I'm not sure how anyone can argue that it is.

Does that reflect poorly upon the Steelers? In the cases of Harrison, Ward and Mendenhall, probably not. (Roethlisberger is another story, and one I won't go into here, except to say that my opinion on him probably puts me in the minority among Steelers fans. In any case, the debate about Roethlisberger has been argued into the ground in the past year.)

Harrison isn't a dirty player, and he was unjustly made the focus of the NFL's war against high hits. The things he said in the Men's Journal interview are extremely stupid, and in some cases incredibly insensitive, but I'm not sure they make him a bad person, just an ignorant one. Ward very probably drove drunk, which is inexcusable, but before that he had been a positive force off the field. And Mendenhall was mostly just guilty of voicing some bizarre opinions.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.