Thursday, May 05, 2011

Mendenhall Fumbles Again

It was a key moment in Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers had clawed their way back from a large 1st-half deficit to threaten the lead of my beloved Green Bay Packers. Then the game turned again, when Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall fumbled the ball and the Packers recovered.

As it happens, Mendenhall also is prone to fumbling a bit in the social media whirl. Following the successful mission to take out bin Laden, Mendenhall got his Tweet on. My friend Brad Carlson explains:

NFL player Rashard Mendenhall, via Twitter, made some comments regarding the bin Laden assassination the next day. Perhaps he should have taken a little more time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers running back on Monday 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..."
Brad patiently explains that, well, Mendenhall might be mistaken:

To be fair, Mendenhall was a high school student when the 9/11 attacks took place. I'm certain he was honing his football skills which eventually lead to his receiving an athletic scholarship to the University of Illinois, thus he didn't have much time for television news. The fact of the matter is bin Laden made more than a few videos expressing his goal to destroy America and implement some sort of sharia law. He even openly bragged of how jet airliners flown into buildings was his brilliant idea.

That's how I remember it, too. But Mendenhall wasn't done. He decided to take things up a notch:

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style," he tweeted. Mendenhall has since deleted his 9/11-related tweet.
Mendenhall is hardly alone in such conspiracy mongering, of course. He's in the august company of Mos Def, Janeane Garafalo, Jesse Ventura, Bill Maher and America's philosopher-king and "Vatican Assassin," Charlie Sheen. So he's got that goin' for him.

I am disappointed that Mendenhall took down his Truther Tweet, because you'd like a fella to have the courage of his convictions. The other thing is, the Internet is forever and there's no memory hole.

So what are we to make of this, other than perhaps Mendenhall needs to adjust his chin strap a bit? Brad makes the salient point:

Naturally, Mendenhall's comments were met with much outrage and criticism. But Mendenhall also had his defenders, claiming he had every right to speak his mind freely. Once again, that's not the issue. Yes, Mendenhall has every right to speak freely, but guess what? Others have every right to react to his comments. It never ceases to amaze me (as well as frustrate me) that people decry criticism in response to someone's opinion. The fact of the matter is that "free speech" simply means you can say whatever you desire without the threat of your government seeking retribution (the obvious assassination threats to the President being a notable exception). THAT'S IT!! That doesn't mean you won't have detractors.

Yep. Free speech has never meant a free shot. And let's not mince words here -- for all the stupidity of those who went for the "Birther" foolishness, the belief that a government, even one in the clutches of Chimpy McHitlerburton, would be able to pull off such a despicable thing as killing thousands of its own citizens, is unhinged. Mendenhall can believe whatever he wants, but this sort of thing can't be condemned strongly enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mendenhall regarding part of his comments. I don't know that celebrating death is part of God's plan. The conspiracy stuff is another matter, but it seems strange to be dancing in the street over the death of another human being, no matter who the person is/was.