Over the weekend, a nation of sports fans trying to make sense of an Al-Jazeera report tying Peyton Manning to shipments of human growth hormone turned to Football Night In America for answers, and Rodney Harrison whacked them in the head with a frying pan. During the broadcast, Harrison was asked about his use of HGH when he was playing for the New England Patriots, for which he was suspended the first four games of the 2007 season.
“I used it, I never had an issue with my groin ever again,” he said. “It wasn’t smart.”
By talking about how off-label use of a prescription drug helped him stay healthy and then following on with a solemn non sequitur about what a horrible mistake it was, Harrison was right in line with the usual branding play here. Think Mark McGwire tearfully going on about what a bad idea it was to take drugs that by his account allowed him to stay on the field despite injuries that had him seriously considering retirement. If you didn’t know about the delimiters arbitrarily placed around certain kinds of medicines, what Harrison had to say—like what McGwire and Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun had to say during their ritual self-flagellation sessions—wouldn’t even logically follow. If you do know about them, it still doesn’t follow.