Rashard Mendenhall - Osama Sympathizer or Soapbox Orator?

Associated Press

The ill effects of the NFL Lockout are beginning to mirror that age old saying, “Idle time is the devil’s workshop.” The clearest case of this is the recent twittery of Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall. While 99.999% of America was basking in the demise of Osama bin Laden, one of the most ruthless terrorists in world history, Mendenhall exposed himself as that .000001% that wasn’t.

On Monday May 2nd, 2011, after bin Laden’s death, Rashard Mendenhall tweeted the following:

“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…”

Under normal circumstances I would be inclined to agree with this portion of his statement: “What kind of person celebrates death?” These are NOT normal circumstances!

The last 2/3 of Mendenhall’s Tweet has not earned him any fans. In fact, I would venture to say that he has lost more than just a few. This was not Mendenhall’s first bout with verbal IBS. On March 15, 2011 Rashard Mendenhall Tweeted the following: ”

Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other.”

This statement was fueled by Adrian Peterson’s analogy in an interview comparing the NFL Lockout to “modern day slavery.”

Rashard defended his “slavery” comment vehemently on Twitter. However, this one is my personal favorite:

“I could break down how, but that would take an amount of ideology and big words that a lot of you wouldn’t understand.”

Mendenhall’s Twitter page is replete with condescension, arrogance and frustration. For as often as he pats himself on the back for his “intelligence” you can still find little gemstones like this:

“Imma donate my brain to somebody that can use it.”

Mendenhall did offer up an apology earlier today on his blog for his remarks on America’s reaction to bin Laden’s death:

“I appreciate those of you who have decided to read this letter and attain a greater understanding of my recent twitter posts. I see how they have gotten misconstrued, and wanted to use this outlet as a way to clear up all things that do not truthfully represent myself, what I stand for personally, and any organization that I am a part of.

First, I want people to understand that I am not in support of Bin Laden, or against the USA. I understand how devastating 9/11 was to this country and to the people whose families were affected. Not just in the US, but families all over the world who had relatives in the World Trade Centers.

My heart goes out to the troops who fight for our freedoms everyday, not being certain if they will have the opportunity to return home, and the families who watch their loved ones bravely go off to war. Last year, I was grateful enough to have the opportunity to travel over seas and participate in a football camp put on for the children of US troops stationed in Germany. It was a special experience. These events have had a significant impact in my life.

This controversial statement was something I said in response to the amount of joy I saw in the event of a murder. I don’t believe that this is an issue of politics or American pride; but one of religion, morality, and human ethics. In the bible, Ezekiel 33:11 states, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!…”.

I wasn’t questioning Bin Laden’s evil acts. I believe that he will have to face God for what he has done. I was reflecting on our own hypocrisy. During 9/11 we watched in horror as parts of the world celebrated death on our soil. Earlier this week, parts of the world watched us in horror celebrating a man’s death.   

Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation. In looking at my timeline in its entirety, everything that I’ve said is with the intent of expressing a wide array of ideas and generating open and honest discussions, something I believe we as American citizens should be able to do. Most opinions will not be fully agreed upon and are not meant to be.

However, I believe every opinion should be respected or at least given some thought. I apologize for the timing as such a sensitive matter, but it was not meant to do harm. I apologize to anyone I unintentionally harmed with anything that I said, or any hurtful interpretation that was made and put in my name. 
It was only meant to encourage anyone reading it to think.”  

Rashard’s agent, Rob Lefko, told ESPN,

“It was not written by anyone else and not crafted by anyone else.”

Why even make a point of saying that?

So, is this kid an Osama sympathizer? Probably not. Is he unpatriotic? Probably to a degree. Is he just another young, arrogant, NFL millionaire looking for attention by causing controversy, no matter what the cost? Oh absolutely! He is not the first. He won’t be the last. Art Rooney II released a statement to the press yesterday:

“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.”

To take a quote from my own Twitter page:

“The pain of 9/11 will never disappear for me. American troops exterminating Osama sure does help.”

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Tags: America Art Rooney II ESPN Lockout National Football League Osama Bin Laden Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall Sean Kerr

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