I usually don't post anything else on mailbag days, but this one is too big to ignore. In a story broken by profootballtalk.com, it has been revealed that new Steelers O-Line coach Larry Zierlein sent a pornographic e-mail to every GM in the league (and their secretaries) as well as Commish Goodell.
An excerpt from their original story:
A league source tells us that an assistant coach with an NFL team attempted on Friday to forward a pornographic e-mail.
If his goal was to send it to every General Manager in the league, he was successful.
The list also included their secretaries. Oh, and the Commissioner got it, too.
We know who the coach is, but we're not going to reveal the name until we get confirmation from one more source as to the coach's identity.
Said the source: "I'm really shocked it hasn't hit the papers. Someone is doing a great job covering it up. But the whole league knows about it."
And now, an update, after PFT decided to name Zierlein:
The e-mail message had been forwarded to him by Doug Whaley, the Steelers director of personnel. Whaley had received the video from someone outside of the organization, and Whaley forwarded it to multiple other persons, including Zierlein.
Again, it's not for us to decide whether this behavior runs afoul of the new personal conduct policy as applied to coaches and front office personnel. Assuming, however, that the NFL has a written policy regarding the use of company computer equipment for personal endeavors, the use of the steelers.com domain to forward the video in question surely was a violation.
This will be quite an interesting quandary for the Steelers, often looked at as a franchise with high moral values. Do they fire Zierlein and Whaley? Suspend them? Do nothing at all?
Don't forget, this is the same organization that reportedly had ESPN Radio's Mark Madden fired for calling Deshea Townsend a "jackass". And if this e-mail story is true, then I can't imagine the Steelers standing idly by with a "no comment". This isn't anywhere close to dogfighting, and I'm sure Zierlein didn't intend to send his email to the commissioner, among others. But it's a very embarrassing story to say the least. And much worse than Madden's comment.
Locally, this has received minimal coverage, outside of Madden mentioning it on his Tuesday show. With the NFL behavior microscope examining everyone closer than ever, this will surely be a prominent national story in the next 24 hours...you know, something you'll see dissected on shows like Around the Horn and PTI. I'll be interested to see what angle, if any, the local outlets will take with this. It will be a good barometer as to the power of PFT's seemingly growing credibility.