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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Responding to Mendenhall

Another athlete has proven that Twitter can allow them to make fools of themselves easier and faster than any other outlet.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has become an unexpected center of controversy in a side story about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Yesterday, he tweeted, “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 later added, “We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

If he had stopped after the first sentence, I wouldn’t have had a major problem with it. I don’t object to people celebrating the death of Bin Laden, but I question some of the scenes that have been shown on television, especially those that played out on college campuses. To me, they weren’t about much more than college kids grabbing an excuse to drink.

I understand the cheering at the Phillies game and the White House. People were already at the game, and the White House and other places offered some significance to 9/11. It was a genuine show of emotion, and individuals in groups naturally feed off each other.

That said, I questioned the desire to continue the jubilation the next day. For me, I was happy this murderer had gotten what he deserved and I wanted to move on. I was lucky enough not to lose anyone in 9/11, and I hoped those who did felt some solace from this evil being wiped off the face of the Earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I was ready for our country to go to war on September 12, and, admittedly offering little common sense, I really didn’t care who we fought. I wanted revenge. I cannot even conceive of the anger people who actually lost someone must have felt (and still may feel).

However, the rest of what Mendenhall said is just stupid. It’s not surprising as he is one of the guys who compared playing in the NFL to slavery. And, he’s obviously not intelligent enough to realize that Bin Laden was killed in the name of defending the freedom that gives him the right to go on Twitter and demonstrate his stupidity.

First of all, we’ve heard Bin Laden speak – literally and figuratively. His actions spoke much louder than any words he could say. Besides that, he has made videos espousing anti-American views and calling for U.S. citizens to be killed. I have zero problem hating someone like that.

His other comment, which seems to suggest some kind of conspiracy surrounding the collapse of the Twin Towers, is disgusting. I don’t know the legal definition of treason, but I wouldn’t mind seeing someone investigate it in this situation. It would likely be another silly case clogging up the court system, but I’m guessing there wouldn’t be many objections to that one. To suggest that somehow we don’t know what caused those buildings to fall is so ludicrous it’s beyond words.

Sadly, there are people actually defending Mendenhall, many (as he did later) invoking God in their response. And those responses were the true catalyst for this post.

Honestly, I’m tiring of pointing out the stupidity of athletes. It could be a full-time job. Yet, I write this post to do more than pile-on with other people criticizing Mendenhall.

When even one person suggests that there was nothing wrong with what he said, it’s imperative to have as many people as possible respond with intelligence and common sense. Not doing so allows the voices of nonsense to fill the void.

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