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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

Welcome to The Score, your place for hard-hitting sports business news, fast-breaking updates and fuel-injected debate.  Buckle up.  I'm your host, Anthony Schoettle, IBJ sports reporter.

Sports Business

Colts dodged bullet with Marvin Harrison

June 17, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Let’s start with this; Marvin Harrison may be the most innocent guy in the world—who just happens to like pearl-handled weapons.

Problem is, most people in this city (or I imagine this country) don’t want their kids looking up to people who routinely tote firearms. And I'm not talking about a hunting rifle here.

Harrison is again entwined with the law. Police seized a firearm in Harrison’s vehicle following a traffic stop Wednesday in Philadelphia. Harrison hasn’t been charged, but Philadelphia police officials said Harrison’s gun could be tested in connection with a 2008 shooting.

The victim of that shooting initially survived and accused Harrison of being the gunman. But the victim died three months later after being shot again. Again, Harrison has been questioned in that incident, but not charged.

Anyway you slice it, you can’t help but conclude that the Indianapolis Colts dodged a serious bullet while Marvin Harrison was on the roster for 13 years. His time here was relatively quiet off the field—literally and figuratively.

I’m sure Harrison doesn’t give a hoot about his status as a role model here or elsewhere. But the Colts certainly do care about the image of their players in this community.

They’ve seen—close-up—what a couple of gun-carrying (and firing) players can do to a team’s image and fiscal fortunes.

Certain types of off-the-field (court) behavior are not forgotten in this community when it comes time for a professional sports franchise to ask for financial support, a stadium deal or simply ask the public to buy tickets and patronize the team.

It’s pretty clear to see now that the Horseshoe Kingdom was pretty lucky when you consider the kind of damage Harrison could have brought to the team’s pristine image.

Sure, Harrison’s productivity was going down, but you now have to wonder if the Colts didn’t see Harrison’s life beginning to unravel and showed him the door.

And you have to wonder too if Harrison didn’t get blackballed by the entire NFL. How else do you explain one of the most prolific NFL receivers not getting a sniff from anyone after leaving the Colts following the 2008 season?

Football insiders said Harrison wanted too much money. You’d never know that from talking to Harrison. He doesn’t talk to the media, or much of anyone else outside his immediate family.

Now the Colts have to be concerned how they honor Harrison and associate with him going forward. Not that anyone would ever expect him to come back to Indianapolis for any kind of induction ceremony or other honor. If Harrison ever is convicted, all bets are off, and a good many ties to the Colts will be cut.

There’s no good time for a person’s life to come unglued. But as far as the Colts are concerned, it’s better that Harrison do it on his own time and not while he’s on their dime.
 

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