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Mendenhall Dropped By Champion Over Tweets

Submitted by on May 8, 2011 – 6:07 pmNo Comment
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall sent out quite a few tweets earlier this week regarding the death of international terrorist, Osama bin Laden. While they were controversial, they followed the tradition of quite a few tweets and Facebook statuses in the days following the news: they questioned the sentiments of happiness so many displayed at the news of a man’s death.

First of all, if hearing someone speak was a prerequisite to hate them, racism could not exist. While some may have never heard bin Laden speak (but most probably have due to the videos he released like R. Kelly released Trapped In The Closet installments), everyone certainly knows who he is and what he’s responsible for—the 9/11 attacks and a continued effort to wreak havoc and seek revenge on the United States—something Mendenhall also disputed.

Being a conspiracy theorist myself, I can understand what Mendenhall is trying to do here and actually, a lot of conspiracy theorists dispute the collapse of the Twin Towers. However, when that chapter is finally beginning to close for so many victims and families of victims, saying things like this without prior thought or reflection is just insensitive. Then again, who ever heard of sensitive football player besides T.O.?

Turns out Mendenhall may become a lot more sensitive in the future as his name can be added to the list of athletes or celebrities who have gotten themselves into hot water over the things they tweeted. Mendenhall had an endorsement deal with athletic outfitter Champion before he took to the tweets to express his opinion. He has since been dropped by the brand.

Champion is a strong supporter of the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall, who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.

The moral of this story is one that we continue to learn in this age of social networking: freedom of speech can prove quite costly if you say the wrong thing.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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