With the NFL lockout back on, players have a lot of time on their hands. Players have time to still hold unorganized workouts, polish their golf game, spend time with family, and for the recent draft picks, study their 900-page playbook, if in fact they were able to get their hands on one before the lockout was back on.
For the Steelers Rashard Mendenhall, he’s decided to focus his extra time and attention on creating a little fire storm with his recent tweets about U.S. special forces killing of Osama bin Laden.
If you missed his latest tweet(s) that have caused such a stir, here they are:
“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.”
These tweets brought reaction from Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II earlier today (Tuesday). In the statement, Rooney said, “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.”
A very appropriate statement on behalf of the organization in my opinion, but leaves a little something to be desired. If not for the lockout, would the Steelers have punished Mendenhall with a fine? Will they punish Mendenhall with a fine once the lockout is lifted and off-season workouts and/or the season begins?
Think about it.
Are Mendenhall’s tweets a punishable offense? Is he not exercising his first amendment right of freedom of speech?
Some would say yes, in fact, some of you that called into the “Odd Couple” show last night did. Some also made the point that if Mendenhall would have criticized a referee, the Steelers or the NFL itself, he would have been fined and possibly suspended for comments or actions that could be deemed detrimental to the team. I read a text last night, that asked the question, why is Mendenhall being ripped for his comments/tweets, philosophers ask questions all the time?
Mendenhall label’s himself as a “conversationalist and professional athlete” on his twitter account. At the end of this post, you decide, conversationalist or sympathizer?
More tweets from Mendenhall followed:
“I believe in God. I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.”
“Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.”
“For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn … I ask how would God feel about your heart?”
“There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think.”
This is not the first time Mendenhall has made controversial statements via twitter. Earlier this year, in March, Mendenhall agreed with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson when he compared the NFL to “modern-day slavery”. Mendenhall then tweeted, “Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other.”
While these opinions of Mendenhall’s are certainly not popular, are they punishable? Should he suffer the consequences?
I’ll ask you. What consequences? Consequences for stating your opinion? Isn’t that just one of the things that makes living in this country great, and having the freedom to speak our minds?
We all say dumb things. I say dumb things every single night I’m on the radio, but I own it. That’s what Mendenhall has to do now, and I’d assume that he absolutely will. Because that’s who he is, that’s what kind of person he is, and the tweets that have caused a bit of an uproar, is what he believes.
Think about it.
I Look forward to having this discussion with you on the “Odd Couple” show tonight!