Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who created a stir in March when he agreed with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's that the NFL was akin to modern day slavery, has sparked an even bigger controversy with his comments about the death of Osama bin Laden.
On his verified Twitter account, Mendenhall wrote a series of tweets yesterday that questioned why people would be so angry at bin Laden and whether or not planes really could take down the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001.
"What kind of person celebrates death?" Mendenhall wrote. "It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."
In another tweet, he wrote: "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."
The series of tweets was so controversial that the Steelers issued a statement today from team president Art Rooney II today.
"I have not spoken with Rashard, so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments," Rooney said. "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."
In March, Mendenhall amplified Peterson's remarks about comparing the NFL to modern-day slavery. "Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other," Mendenhall wrote.
Mendenhall is coming off a career-best year with 1,273 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, as he helped lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl. His late fumble keyed a Packers second-half rally that led to Green Bay's win in Dallas.
Among Mendenhall's other tweets yesterday: "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?"
The last tweet posted on Mendenhall's Twitter account:
"There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think."
So, what do we think? We think Mendenhall is entitled to express his opinions, just as every American is under the Constitution. But we also think Mendenhall deserves all the criticism he has been getting for his remarks.
Many of the comments are ridiculously off base, especially the one that reads, "It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."
What? Has Mendenhall not heard any of the vicious diatribes over the years from bin Laden, who has been the mastermind behind the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians around the world, including nearly 3,000 in the Sept. 11 attacks? "We've only heard one side." What a preposterous statement.
And how about the one about having a "hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style." Seriously? What else brought down two of the world's tallest buildings? Has he not seen the horrifying tapes of the steel structures come crumbling down on that history-altering morning?