Today’s not the first time that Rashard Mendenhall’s made headlines for his social media.
The former running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers raised eyebrows with a post on Twitter this morningblasting “average white guys” for commenting on football – and calling for replacing the Pro Bowl with a matchup between teams of all-white players and all-black players to see which one comes out on top.
I’m sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y’all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs. All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football. I’m better than ur goat.
The reactions were about what you’d expect, with many reminding him that his Steelers team lost the Super Bowl after he fumbled the ball while being tackled by Clay Matthews, a white linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
But this isn’t the first time that Mendenhall has found himself in hot water over his…well, hot takes on social media.
Back in 2011, after the news broke of Osama Bin Laden’s death, Mendenhall apparently felt the need to jump in and…defend Bin Laden.
Well, not exactly defend him, but criticize those who were celebrating his death. (Which was pretty much the entire world at that point). And Mendenhall also said that “we’ve only heard one side.”
I mean, I think Bin Laden’s side was pretty clear, but…ok.
“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…”
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…
He also tweeted that “we’ll never really know” what happened on 9/11, though that post was later deleted.
The backlash was strong, including from his then-team. Steelers president Art Rooney released a statement criticizing Mendenhall’s tweet:
“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.”
And days later, Mendenhall published a lengthy post clarifying that he does not, in fact, support Osama Bin Laden. (I feel like if you have to clarify that you’re already losing).
In the post, he said that he understands how his comments could have gotten “misconstrued,” while acknowledging the atrocities of the 9/11 attacks:
“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.”
And he said that his Twitter post was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of celebrating somebody’s death after our outrage when others celebrated over 9/11.
“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.”
I mean, I guess I understand what he was trying to say. But there’s a slight difference in celebrating the death of 3,000 innocent people, and celebrating the death of the terrorist who killed 3,000 innocent people.
Of course nuance doesn’t really seem to be Rashard Mendenhall’s thing, especially on Twitter…