When athletes tweet …. starring Rashard Mendenhall

May 04, 2011 |

I will begin this creation of words by acknowledging that I subscribe to Twitter and I follow a handful of athletes on the social media website. My inspiration is not in trying to somehow live my life through the daily habits of sports stars and I don’t look to them for critical analysis.

My primary tie to Twitter is found in tracking breaking news, especially of the sports variety. It has become a vital tool and means of communication for anyone who works in media.

I’m generally not a fan of “tweets” that convey personal opinions or comprehensions of anything – sports and beyond. But, there are always exceptions …..

I tend to take interest in the musings of real insiders or experts, and I also find a value in gaining personal insight from athletes. This is especially true as it regards members of the Orioles and Ravens.

Among the athletes I follow, you can count Ray Rice, Adam Jones, Jeremy Guthrie, Willis McGahee, Zach Britton, Michael Oher and Chad Ochocinco.

Unique combination, huh? Each of them is very active and they tend to be opinionated. Thus, I’m interested in their random postings. I find each of these guys to be lighthearted and gregarious in their habitual daily updates.

And, most of them (especially Chad) can be pretty humorous …..

That said, I have never really found any of these athletes to be vial, indecent or offensive in their Twitter rants. I assume they recognize the fragility of their public image and a credibility that follows.

Obviously, Rashard Mendenhall does not care about his stake in the public eye, and I think it’s fair to suggest that he is anything but protective of the Pittsburgh Steelers overall image.

His recent tweets have certainly led me to such a conclusion …..

As the world now knows, a couple days ago, Mendenhall used the Twitter forum to display his ignorance and lack of knowledge regarding the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the fallout that consumed this nation and much of the world.

The following is among a series of his tweets:

“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.”

“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition-style.”

I absolutely respect the personal impressions and opinions of others. And, I even understand a resistance to celebrate the killing of another human, to include a villain of Osama Bin Laden’s character.

In fact, I think it’s quite humane to take no happiness in being forced to kill anyone. This ARTICLE pretty much covers such a belief; if you have an opportunity, please consider reading it.

But, I absolutely find Rashard Mendenhall’s comments regarding only hearing “one side” to be both ignorant and shallow. Both sides have been heard and those responsible for the 9/11 attacks have claimed their victory and distinction.

Most of us have observed footage of the planes striking the twin towers HUNDREDS of times over the last decade. The angles are varied and the sequence of destruction is obvious to the naked eye. What can Mendenhall be missing in his analysis?

In blunt truth, this really isn’t about 9/11 conspiracies or any specific struggle to achieve peace. Rashard Mendenhall is free to think as he desires and to express any opinions – even if such ramblings are asinine.

But, such freedoms are coupled with responsibility and accountability …..

Regardless of his reckless exercising of free speech, an expectation of decorum will follow Mendenhall during the course of his NFL career. I am in no way prioritizing commitment to an employer over one’s rights.

However, when one exercises their rights so negligently, ramifications will eventually follow. How long did it take the Pittsburgh Steelers to distance the organization from the player?

Does Rashard Mendenhall represent the Steelers in a professional capacity when he spews stupid statements on the internet? No …. but that doesn’t mean his callous and dimwitted comments don’t have an impact on the franchise.

And, therein lies the fine line …..

I’m not suggesting Dan Rooney will part ways with his talented running back. Anyone who knows and understands the NFL game can certainly foresee the Steelers running Mendenhall directly into the ground – until he becomes too expensive or unproductive.

That’s the business.

Rashard Mendenhall has a large social following and financial success with thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Today, such a reality has never been more clear.

He describes himself as a “conversationalist”. Yet, he’s exhibiting successive signs that he hasn’t gained an education in America’s history, especially as it regards slavery and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

In other words, he puts his mouth and fingertips into gear before becoming familiar with the sensitive subjects he addresses. I don’t think I have ever been so harsh toward an athlete, but this young man is an idiot.

His comments transcend reality …..

After all, it’s not as if he’s choosing to ramble about a bad meal at a restaurant or his perceptions of the economy. In the span of about a month’s time, he has foolishly spewed inaccurate and irresponsible rhetoric about subjects that are sacredly sensitive to this nation.

Rashard Mendenhall is blessed with the good fortune of being a very talented athlete, but his abilities and decisions off the field are highly questionable.