Rashard Mendenhall, 9/11 and Freedom of Speech: Can We All Just Speak Our Minds?

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IMay 5, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball against Desmond Bishop #55 of the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall's statements regarding the announcement that Osama bin Laden was killed have come under fire.

From his Twitter account Mendenhall issued the following: "What kind of person celebrates death? It is amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Mendenhall then went on to express his thoughts on the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Yesterday Mendenhall went into damage control.  I do not understand why.  I thought there was a thing called freedom of speech.

Well, I guess it exists for those in the majority.

Mendenhall issued the following yesterday to clarify what he we attempting to say.  He stated in his blog, “Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation.”

Mendenhall continues, “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.”

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I will just get right to the point: I do not see anything wrong with what Mendenhall asserted on his Twitter account.  He is free to express himself the way he see fits. 

Mendenhall suggested he merely wanted to “generate conversation.”

Since when is that against the law?

Are people so rigid and programmed in their thinking it becomes impossible to consider a vantage that may be different than the majority?

Personally, I do not believe Mendenhall needed to clarify his statements or apologize.  I have grown weary of people who make statements who throw their rock but hide their hand. 

In my opinion, an individual should not apologize for something they truly believe in.  All men and women, while human, also have varied personalities and thoughts.  Mendenhall expressed a mode of thinking that is not in the majority view.  Just because a view is to widely popular does not mean it is not worthy of critical discussion.

Does Mendenhall have the right to express his views even though they rival mainstream ideology?

I love the fact athletes who have a conscious to make their feelings known.  Just because you earn a lot of money, play professional sports and are a highly visible personality does not mean one has to subscribe to being docile and obedient.

Furthermore, what Mendenhall asserted was not necessarily controversial: He just stated something many have thought but were fearful of expressing in a public forum.

It is true that there is essentially one side of the story regarding what really transpired during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In my view, it is extremely plausible to assert how two world-class structures could fall so suddenly.  If everyone remembers, Tower No. 7 fell a short period after the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, yet it was not struck by any planes. 

What is wrong with Mendenhall asserting his perception of what he feels happened or did not happen?

I have digested some commentary where Mendenhall should be traded like Santonio Holmes or he should issue a real apology for his unpatriotic stance.

Give me a break.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether the owner of the Steelers and President Obama are friends.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether so many people who reside in this country do not have the guts to assert what they really feel. 

Not everyone wants to be status quo and be politically correct: Some people have minds and the ability to analyze for themselves.

Instead of condemning Mendenhall for his position, people should look at his statements and simply ask one question: Does what he suggests have a level of credence?

That would indicate a level of understanding and extending beyond one’s cerebral comfort zone to consider another vantage point than the majority view. 

Since a segment of this country is so programmed and narrow-minded, they would much rather cling to the comfort of conformity rather than extend beyond their self-imposed boundaries and experience, which can be characterized as thinking freely.

Bottom line: Freedom of speech exists in this country, but apparently it's only protected for those who subscribe to the majority view.

Email me directly: drttcd@gmail.com

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