NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Rashard Mendenhall created an uproar on Tuesday with comments made on his official Twitter page regarding Osama bin Laden’s death.
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…”
The 23-year-old even made a reference to the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”
On Wednesday, Mendenhall released a blog entry, titled “Clarification.”
“First, I want people to understand that I am not in support of (bin Laden), or against the USA,” he wrote. “I understand how devastating 9/11 was to this country and to the people whose families were affected.”
He added: “This controversial statement was something I said in response to the amount of joy I saw in the event of a murder. I don’t believe that this is an issue of politics or American pride; but one of religion, morality, and human ethics. … I wasn’t questioning (bin Laden’s) evil acts. I believe that he will have to face God for what he has done. I was reflecting on our own hypocrisy. During 9/11 we watched in horror as parts of the world celebrated death on our soil. Earlier this week, parts of the world watched us in horror celebrating a man’s death.”
The Steelers felt compelled to act after Mendenhall’s tweets made the rounds on sports radio, including WFAN’s Mike’d Up program.
“I have not spoken with Rashard, so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments,” team president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “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.”
Mendenhall apologized toward the end of his entry.
“I apologize for the timing as such a sensitive matter, but it was not meant to do harm. I apologize to anyone I unintentionally harmed with anything that I said, or any hurtful interpretation that was made and put in my name.
“It was only meant to encourage anyone reading it to think.”
Among his other bin Laden tweets:
“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?”
Mendenhall, who profiles himself as a “conversationalist and professional athlete” on his Twitter page, turned some heads in March, as well, when he supported a comment by Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson comparing the NFL to “modern-day slavery.”
“Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel eachother,” Mendenhall posted at the time.
Mendenhall is coming off a tremendous season, as he led the AFC champions in carries (324), rushing yards (1,273) and rushing touchdowns (13). He has 2,439 yards in three seasons since being drafted in the 2008 first round out of Illinois.
In the 2010 postseason, Mendenhall ran for 230 yards on 61 carries in three games with four touchdowns, as Pittsburgh defeated the Baltimore Ravens (31-24) and New York Jets (24-19), before falling to the Green Bay Packers 31-25 in the Super Bowl.
Is Mendenhall’s “clarification” good enough for you? Sound off in the comments below…
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