Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has created a stir within the twitterverse and the NFL community with bizarre, off-the-wall comments on his official Twitter page regarding Sunday’s death of Osama Bin Laden.
The former Illinois Fighting Illini and Skokie, IL (a northern suburb of Chicago) native tweeted Monday:
“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”
By Paul M. Banks
Interesting take there, Shard. Defending a man who we’ve all heard speak; and he speaks of promoting genocide and atrocity. His speech includes a fatwa to kill all Americans, military or civilian. So we’ve heard what we has to say, an advocacy of all Muslims to kill me, you, and all Americans. Innocent Americans.
So uhm, yeah, that’s why we hated OBL, because he urged his followers to kill all of us.
His reasons? American military presence in Arab countries, U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and American financial and military aid to Israel. Even though America once gave him and his Mujahideen followers money, weapons and combat training to help fight the Soviet Union when they invaded Afghanistan.
So not only was Bin Laden an asshole; we was an ungrateful asshole. No everyday American has any connection or responsibility to any of the U.S. foreign policies that Bin Laden despised, so for him to want us all dead over something we have no control over is pretty sick and twisted. And that fact makes us very worthy to dance on his grave. Get a clue Mendenhall!
Shard followed that up with a tweet which makes him sound like one of those fringe, looney-tune “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theorists.
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”
WOW! That is just awful and offensive on so many levels. I’ll defend to the death Mendenhall’s right to say this, and whatever else he wants to say, but in keeping with the ideals of the First Amendment, we also need to point out ridiculously inaccurate and awful his stated beliefs are. He has over 20,000 followers and we need to give them all the facts; something he is not doing.
The Steelers obviously felt compelled to act. The NFL is a huge billion dollar brand, and they have a lot invested in brand management, and maintaining that certain image when their star tailback goes batshit. On Tuesday, team president Art Rooney II released this statement.
“I have not spoken with Rashard, so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments. The entire Steelers organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon.”
Among Mendenhall’s other bin Laden tweets:
“I believe in God. I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.”
“Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.”
“For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn … I ask how would God feel about your heart?”
“There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think.”
Mendenhall’s string of tweets ended around 5 p.m. Monday. He has not tweeted since.
The Steelers are one of the NFL’s most successful teams on the field, and one of the most popular brands across America. The firestorm against Mendenhall’s asinine statements has only just begun. And in a right-wing, God-fearing, flag-waving bastion like the NFL, it’s only going to get worse; and quickly. He’ll need to issue a public apology and retraction soon, otherwise the backlash will only grow exponentially.
It doesn’t help that the NFL is shutdown on a lockout; there is very little for the NFL fan to talk about these days. Rashard’s controversial statement just gave them water cooler fodder.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook
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