aCS blog: The Sports Bank—Paul Banks
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 native tweeted to his 20,ooo followers 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…”
Interesting take there, Shard. Defending a man who we’ve all heard speak. His speeches included a fatwa to kill all Americans, military or civilian: 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.
Shard followed that up with a tweet on his page, which describes himself as a “conversationalist” and “professional athlete,” that makes him sound an awful like a “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theorist.
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”
Since their star tailback/conversationalist went rogue on them, The Steelers obviously felt compelled to act. 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 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 NFL fans to talk about these days. Rashard’s controversial statement just gave them water cooler fodder.