PITTSBURGH (Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) The Steelers' James Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, plans to skip the Super Bowl champions' visit to the White House on Thursday, just as he did when the Steelers visited President George W. Bush in June 2006. Harrison doesn't believe an invitation to the White House is "all that special."
"If the Arizona Cardinals won instead, they'd be going to the White House, not us. If the President really wanted to see the Pittsburgh Steelers he should invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl," Harrison told Pittsburgh station WTAE-TV. "Do I invite someone to my house cause they just got a raise at work or just bowled a 250? Hell no. That's just not the way things are done, I don't care if you're a factory worker or President of these United States."
Harrison finds the ritual itself pointless and an intrusion on his off-season routine.
"What's the big whoop? You're in for some photos, if you're lucky the White House dog doesn't take a leak on your new shoes, and before you know it you're back on the plane heading home. Plus, Thursday is my day to take the kids to school."
Harrison was quick to point out it's nothing personal and he'd be open to a one-on-one with President Obama on a more convenient day and time.
"Things ease up late June, early July. If the President can find a couple of hours sometime in there, we can work something out. That would tell me he wants me in for me and not James Harrison Super Bowl Champ. Those of you who know only the surly, sullen, monosyllabic James Harrison, have never seen the charming, erudite side I reserve for Presidents and visiting heads of state."
"Charming side?" asked an incredulous Steelers' teammate. "I've seen him think twice about stepping on a guy's crotch after making a tackle - but I don't think anyone would mistake James for a summa cum laude charm school graduate. What an idiot."
The White House issued a brief statement earlier today. "We regret James Harrison's decision and hope he reconsiders - particularly in light of the fact that, had Senator McCain been elected, President Obama would not have issued an invitation, whether or not Mr. Harrison won the Super Bowl."