Rashard Mendenhall Tweets Defense of Osama Bin Laden
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in the headlines today for all the wrong reasons. Running back Rashard Mendenhall took to Twitter on Monday in the wake of the death of Osama Bin Laden—Mendehall urged against celebrating the death and questioned the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Several Pittsburgh Steelers follow this account and it has been verified. So short of Mendenhall saying his account has been hacked, he is putting himself in a very sticky situation.
The politics behind these Tweets are bigger than the scope of this column, so I only will respectfully disagree with his Tweets and move on with my life. He is wrong and acting like an idiot, so we will focus on that and how these Tweets will affect his roster status with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh Steelers owner and Chairmen Dan Rooney is a friend of President Obama and is the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Given Obama's role in the death of Bin Laden, and the overwhelming popular response to this past weekend's action, Tweeting a negative response to this action may not have been the smartest thing to do.
Free speech is a wonderful thing, but there also is an inherent responsibility to that. Without getting into a huge debate, I will just point out that going after the boss or his friends is not the best way to keep your job.
In the world of football, Mendenhall easily can be replaced. The Steelers proved they will get rid of malcontents when they dumped Santonio Holmes last year.
The Steelers drafted running back Baron Batch in the seventh round this past week. While Batch is a seventh-round selection, you can find good running backs in any round of the draft, and if he gets the carries and is successful, Mendenhall becomes even more expendable.
The Steelers also have Mwelde Moore, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Jamie McCoy and James Johnson. While the latter few names are fighting for a roster spot, it is very easy to decide they get more carries in the preseason.
Or, the Steelers will just trade him like they did Holmes.
With the labor dispute going on, nothing will happen in the immediate future, but once normal business resumes, do not be surprised if Mendenhall is looking for work elsewhere. Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a passionate group of people, and they are a blue-collar crowd known for their patriotism.
In a time when players are vying for the favor and attention of fans, Mendenhall did one of the worst things he could do by publicly taking a controversial position.
Once again, it is his right to take a controversial position, but it is my right, and your right, to tell him he is full of crap and boo him when he takes the field.
UPDATE: Mendenhall has removed at least one of the Tweets.
UPDATE No. 2: Mendenhall has created a blog to clarify his comments.