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Professional Athletes And Twitter

Karl Walter, Getty Images

Rashard Mendenhall’s recent Twitter comments regarding Osama bin Laden’s death and the September 11th attacks made me realize that professional athletes just shouldn’t use Twitter.

Before you start talking about “Freedom of Speech”, let me tell you why I feel this way.

When athletes tweet, they’re just asking for ridicule.  The minute an athlete hits the return button, their views are everywhere and sometimes, they don’t think before they type.

On Monday, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tweeted on his personal account: “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…”

Mendenhall then made reference to the Sept. 11 attacks in a separate tweet.

“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

I have no problem with Mendenhall saying, “What kind of person celebrates death?”  That’s a fair question but it’s the rest of his tweets that I’ve got an issue with.

Mendenhall’s assertation that no one’s heard bin Laden’s “side” of things is puzzling.  Didn’t Bin Laden release a tape almost immediately after 9/11 -claiming victory and talking about how happy he was?  You mean the 20 Bin Laden tapes released over the years didn’t explain his views of America?

Twitter screenshot

I think I’ve seen more Bin Laden tapes than I have New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo press conferences.  Bin Laden had mentioned countless times about how he wanted to rid the world of America.  We’ve heard his side – far too much.  Bin Laden was an evil man – plain and simple!

Then, Mendenhall doubts whether a plane could take down a skyscraper.  He’s essentially saying that 9/11 was a giant conspiracy.

There were countless documentaries of how jet fuel on fire melted the steel beams and framing of the building which led to the collapse.  Would he feel the same if he knew someone in one of those Twin Towers?

This is why professional athletes shouldn’t use Twitter. There’s a reason Mendenhall is a pro football running back – and not a history major.  I don’t need to hear athletes opinions on foreign policy, current events or politically charged issues! 

It’s either that, or they’re giving away information about an injury the public shouldn’t know about.

If a player is getting paid by an organization, he is representing that organization.  Situations like this are embarrassing to that team and the league.

I’m all for free speech but professional athletes are expected to have a certain image – both on and off the field.

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