Land of the Free… Home of the silent.

The early settlers came to “America” out of the need to escape Puritan England in order to gain freedom (religious), and even recently has always boasted that its citizens are awarded many freedoms, one being freedom of speech. What many have forgotten is just as with the freedom sail from England, our present day freedoms come at a price.

mendenhall
Rashard Mendenhall, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers is finding that out the hard way now. For those who don’t know Mendenhall has caught MAJOR flack for expressing a right that many of us take for granted; FREEDOM of SPEECH. While I understand there still are things that cannot be protected under this right (like yelling fire in a crowded room, public defamation of the President of the country and a couple of others) what Mendenhall said should have easily fallen under that protection. Below is a copy of the is the copy the statement made by Mendenhall on his personal twitter account

“What kind of person celebrating death? It’s amazing how people can hate a man whom they had never heard speak. We have only heard one side.”
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

celebration of death (were reactions like this really necessary… NO)

What many people failed to do, was break the comments down into two separate parts (they were tweeted as such.) The first part in which he questions people who celebrate death is spot on… It’s ironic that a country that was established on Christian beliefs would be so contradictory of said beliefs. Matthew 22:39 states that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. No where in the verse is there a conditional clause, saying if he does this you don’t have to and your neighor extends to other countries. While we (myself included) take great issue with what Osama Bin Ladin did, he still was a human in which God commanded us to love. I personally take issue with how the country celebrates a vigilante murder, evil or not, this man was not given the opportunity to stand trial. Now there may be some who feel that due to the fact of his actions he didn’t deserve a trial, well that’s strictly opinion based. But in this country even Charles Manson and Ted Bundy, who were viewed as heinous, were given the right to have a trial, and I am willing to bet the family of their victims would have loved to get swift justice for their lost loved ones. It seems as if America is good for having rules but being able to amend them based on need, and wasnt this the SAME man who allegedly had ties to the CIA back in the 80s (for the truth, you sometimes have to go outside of US media outlets)

In the second part of the tweet in which he brings questioning to the true source of destruction during September 11th bombings, while it is very hard to prove that, he has not been the only person that has questioned the truth in this story. I will just say that the incident was so unfortunate and I pray that there was no involvement by our own government.

After reading the tweets I expected uber-patriotic Americans to voice their displeasure of the comments made by Mendenhall. What I did not expect to hear were news reports in which team president Art Rooney II from the Pittsburgh Steelers (the team which he plays for) say this

“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.”

So in the quote he says that he hadn’t talked to Rashad, which he can’t due to the NFL lockout, so why would he go as far to think that he was taking issue with the job that the military had done in regards to this situation (if he truly knew his player he would know that Mendenhall spent time at a football camp in Germany with US troops.) But it goes to show how “speak first, then think later our society is.” Ironically the most important part of the comment that isn’t related to the story is that he hopes it leads our troops home soon, and that is right there is the BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION many americans have. They think now that the big bad wolf is dead, little red riding hood can come home. If you pay attention to American government they have been giving us MANY excuses as to why our Armed Servicemen are overseas;
weapons of mass destruction none there, Saddam Hussein handled him, Osama Bin Ladin- killed him. I wonder what the next threat to american safety will be to keep our troops away from home, because unless there is a significant amount of troops sent home before the holidays, I call BULLSHIT on the american government.

But back to the subject so now we see that Mendenhall doesn’t have the support of his employer we also find out a company who he was paid to endorse, Champion Sports Apparel has now “fired” him. Here is the press release made by a spokesperson for champion

“Champion is a strong supporter of the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall(notes), who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.”

So essentially what I got from the release is that:
1. Champion blindly supports the actions of the US government right or wrong
2. Anyone who questions the actions of the government is unpatriotic
3. Forget a contract, we can do what we want (I wonder if there was a character clause in his contract that forbade him to have any counter-governmental outburst… probably not)

Truthfully when was the last time Champion was relevant as an apparel company when it comes to athletes marketing, so in the grand scheme of things they became relevant for 2.5 seconds only to go back into the sea of forgotten after the next Nike or Under Armor commercial airs.

While I think Mendenhall bounces back, like all things in the american media, it will take time to blow over (or bigger news story.) He has even gone as far as to blog a clarification statement in which he breaks down what he truly was trying to convey (only having 160 characters can get you in trouble if someone misinterprets your tweet) And while I always thought he was a good football player, he has earned more respect from me as a man because; he felt a certain kind a way about something, spoke on it, saw the error in how it was conveyed, brought clarity to what he said, but never backed down from his stance. How you feel may not always be received nicely but if that’s how you feel MAN UP and stand by your statement… This is the type of athlete that should be endeared not vilified.

But this whole situation speaks of a bigger social issue… are we essentially telling people and specifically the youth that your beliefs views and ideas are insignificant, subject to scrutiny, and could get you fired if they are contrary to that of popular belief. We already have athletes who refuse to stand up for social/civil/spiritual injustices out of fear of losing their cash cow, but now they can’t even voice their opinions on social networking websites. There are many who are against athletes/entertainers being on twitter and many collegiate coaches have gone as far as banning it for their players due to some of the foolishness being said, but I do believe under the right context, twitter can be a positive outlet that endears fans to an athlete. Case in point Jalen Rose is establishing a charter school in my hometown of Detroit and he took to twitter to spread awareness of the opportunity for the youth of Detroit to enroll.

What I suggest is that EVERYONE even us common folk before you hit that send button on your respective twitter app think of the potential ramifications of having your words hit cyberspace, because while John Doe may not lose millions due to an inappropriate tweet, he could lose something more important to him like his job/wife/friends…

Even in writing this, I know I am subjecting myself to scrutiny, judgement and hate, but I DONT CARE… I am tired of people abiding by the status quo because its safe or easy. It is time for someone to shake the masses so why not me… I’ll be the blog Bad Guy, but know this if you have made it this far in reading, i know I have challenged you to rethink some things in life and if so, my job is done.

-God Bless

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About Q_Crush
A kritical thinker that has a lot on his mind... Lover of all things good great conversationalist that will discuss anything if you are courageous enough to bring it up

One Response to Land of the Free… Home of the silent.

  1. Pingback: Rashard Mendenhall — 40 Million Dollar Slave? - Jack & Jill Politics

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