Mendenhall

By By Eric D.Graham, BASN Columnist
Updated: May 13, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall

Rashard Mendenhall

NORTH CAROLINA—(BASN) Should the NFL have a thought police for their athletes? Should they ban all NFL players from twitting by eliminating all twitter accounts?

These are the questions that were asked after Pittsburgh Steelers (RB) Rashard Mendenhall tweeted the following message after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1st 2011::

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

This tweet alone caused Mendenhall to lose his endorsement deal with Champion sports apparel company.

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 U.S., but families all over the world who had relatives in the World Trade Centers.” Mendenhall explained during a recent press conference. “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.”

Desite all of that, Mendenhall’s tweet is simply just another classic example of the “shut up and play ball” imaginary rule at the bottom of these million-dollar contracts in small print, which most football players forget to read before signing their names on the dotted line.

The small print reads:

If you are going to speak, have your agent speak for you. (Ask Terrell Owens). If you going to do an interview let your public relations director prepare a written statement. (Ask Cam Newton)

But please, for the love of God, regardless of the situation, or circumstance, don’t talk, don’t tweet, don’t blog, don’t put it on face book, or discuss anything without our permission.

Even if you went to college and majored in Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, Journalism, History, or Sports Management, keep your opinions to yourself.

In other words, run the ball, try not to fumble it, and keep your helmet on while on the sideline.

As a result, remember, first and foremost that you represent the shield, the league, the team, this organization, this city, and these devoted ticket paying fans screaming in these stadiums.

Therefore, it is better to be seen and not heard.

We definitely don’t need another big mouth Muhammad Ali-type player stirring up trouble and causing our fans to think about anything but football.

Quite frankly, we prefer and recommend that you not discuss religion, politics, or even sports with the media, especially during the lockout.

But we do encourage you to be patriotic, and show your allegiance to the US flag at all times.

Despite all of these hidden rules, people still have to ask themselves whether Mendenhall’s tweet, even though it ruffled a few feathers, was true or not.

Because according to Proverbs Chapter 24:17, it clearly states: Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.

For those who don’t revere the Bible as a Holy Book, like Denzel Washington did in the movie “The Book of Eli,” that scripture from the Book of Proverbs probably means absolutely nothing to you.

But for a so-called Christian nation, which America claims to be, all those people cheering the death of bin Laden outside the White House and in the streets, this little scripture may change how they view Mendenhall as well as his recent controversial tweets.

Secondly, in Mendenhall’s defense, he is not the only person who has questions about the events that occurred on 9/11. But in a world where critical thinking is shunned and reality shows like the Jersey Shore and Basketball Wives are celebrated, who really cares what Mendenhall thinks.

As a result, people like Mendenhall are now scurtized by the press and condemned by the sports world.

American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky expounds on this concept of how entertainment over thinking has become a part of the fabric of American society.

“As long as people are marginalized and distracted (they) have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even know that others have these sentiments.” Chomsky explained.

“People assume that they are the only people with a crazy idea in their heads. They never hear it from anywhere else. Nobody’s supposed to think that…” he continued.

“Since there’s no way to get together with other people who share or reinforce that view and help you articulate it, you feel like an oddity, an oddball. So you just stay on the side and don’t pay any attention to what’s going on. You look at something else, like the Superbowl.”

Unfortunately for Mendenhall, many people feel he will never be a part of another Steeler Superbowl run and will eventually be “whiteballed” by the league due to his recent controversial tweets about bin laden and 9/11.

Personally, I don’t think the Steelers will release Mendenhall, who led the AFC Champions in carries (324), 1,324 rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns (13) considering the fact that they kept Ben Roeslinberger after his “sexually misconduct” incidents, which embarrassed the organization and the league.

Finally, in the last part of Mendenhall’s tweet, he says: We’ve only heard oneside. We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style…..

Quite frankly, he was absolutely correct. With the assassination of bin Laden, we will never really know what happened, even though in our hearts, we believe bin Laden is guilty. Therefore, regardless of how painful the event makes us feel, 9/11 still remains a mystery.

In effect, even though the sports nation dismissed Mendenhall as just another dumb jock, Chris Hodges, author The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress articulated what Mendenhall could not say in only 144 characters.

He (Osama bin Laden) was murdered. “He was unarmed. He should have been brought to trial.” Hodge explained on recent interview on Grit TV.

“This is what we (the United States) should be about. The rule of law, due process….(because) we have come to point where executive office can order, as they have attempted in Yemen, the assassination of American citizens without due process. And once you set that as a precedence, especially as the society continues to unravel, you are chipping away at the very liberty that have in the past distinguished us from the Totalitarian, Autocratic systems that we were often pitted against and that’s extremely frightening.”

With that said, even though, Mendenhall may feel like the odd man out.

He is not alone.