Rooney responds to Mendenhall’s tweets about bin Laden.
If there weren’t enough tension between NFL players and owners during the league’s current labor unrest, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall found another way to tick off his boss — with some ill-timed and ill-advised comments.
Mendenhall via Twitter, shared a series of sentiments about not believing that slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those thoughts, including criticism about those celebrating bin Laden’s death on Monday, prompted Steelers president Art Rooney II to make a counter statement through his team’s official website on Tuesday.“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.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Mendenhall removed one of the tweets, which was directed at former Illinois basketball player Dominique Keller.
The tweet said, “We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take down a skyscraper demolition style.”
Although Mendenhall, just like everyone in the United States, has freedom of speech, he should be aware that what he said has the potential to cause a public relations nightmare for what’s considered to be one of the league’s classiest franchises. Rooney wisely was just protecting the interests of his brand.
This is not the first time Mendenhall has turned some heads with his Twitter account. In March, Mendenhall supported Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s comments that compared the players’ place in the NFL to “modern-day slavery.”