Freedom of speech is a one of the rights that all Americans have.  It’s part of our Constitution.  When the Government is not trampling on it, or trying to censor us, what words we choose to use can be compelling, moving and insightful.

None of those last examples fit the category for what comments Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall offered on Monday regarding the post Osama bin Laden killing on Sunday in Pakistan. 

I’m not one to hide my opinion on most issues.  I for one was glad to know we killed a man responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 American’s on September 11th, 2001.  I didn’t celebrate like many did in the wake of the news earlier this week.  I understood the outpour of emotion that came over people as the news broke.  I got it. 

Apparently, Mendenhall didn’t.

And it didn’t take long for him to speak out about how it impacted him.  Please understand that I don’t take issue with his opinions.  He’s entitled to have them and speak them, or in this case tweet them, but let’s just examine what he said on Twitter this past Monday.

From Mendenhall regarding bin Laden’s death.  “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?  Well, people who have waited nearly 10-years to see justice served on a man responsible for the single largest terroristic plot in history.  The word hate itself probably doesn’t do justice to those directly impacted by the events of 9-11 and how they feel about bin Laden.

As far as hearing only one side, bin Laden made many, many comments regarding the deed of that day.  I know Mendenhall is only 23, so he would have been a teen when 9-11 took place, but you can’t tell me he’s never heard any of bin Laden’s recorded messages made over the years.  Every major news network has played them ad nauseam.  I’m certain that both sides to the issue have been laid out for the world to over analyze. 

Oh, but Mendenhall didn’t stop there.  On the actual events of 9-11, he offered this doozy…

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

Maybe Mendenhall should call his travel agent and book a trip to lower Manhattan and see what really happened.  And if he didn’t watch on TV the events of that day, he should visit this link…

The bottom line is this, Mendenhall’s comments are simply ridiculous.  Look, I don’t care if you want to have people view you as a ‘Conversationalist” like Mendenhall’s website states.  Honestly, your opinions are not helping people look at you as such.  Dopey football player, yes.  Idiotic jock definitely. 

You could possibly add soon to be unemployed Steeler to this list.  Steelers President Art Rooney II released a statement on Tuesday saying it was hard to comprehend what his running back said.  Santonio Holmes found himself jettisoned to New York because of his dopey behavior and Twitter wake-n-bake commentary and he practically won Rooney a sixth Lombardi trophy with his two hands and some nifty footwork. 

Rashard, we get that you have opinions and you are, by our Constitution, free to speak, share, offer them up for all to know and hear.  But these opinions are better kept under lock and key.  I thought Mendenhall’s comments about ‘Modern day slavery’ and playing in the NFL were a bit much and chalked it up as youthful absurdity. 

Do yourself a favor Rashard, drop your Twitter account.  Take up backgammon and stick to running, blocking and catching the football.  And when in doubt, know that the easiest way to save face is to keep the lower half-shut. 

John Phillips is the author of this article and a recently rejected applicant for the Navy Seal Team 6 squad.  When he’s not training for underwater demolition missions, JP can be heard hosting weekend talk-shows and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan.  You can also follow JP on Twitter at

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