Rashard Mendenhall clarifies his Osama bin Laden, 9/11 tweets
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall returned to Twitter on Wednesday, this time in an attempt to clarify his controversial tweets Monday concerning the death of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks.
In a letter posted online, Mendenhall explains that he is not “in support of Bin Laden or against the USA” and apologizes to “anyone I unintentionally harmed with anything that I said, or any hurtful interpretation that was made and put in my name.”
On Monday, Mendenhall made several posts concerning the celebrations following Bin Laden's death, including: “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…”
In his clarification of that comment, Mendenhall wrote: "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."
Mendenhall has also been under fire for a seemingly insensitive comment regarding Sept. 11, 2001 (“We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”).
He wrote Wednesday: “I understand how devastating 9/11 was to this country and to the people whose families were affected. Not just in the US, but families all over the world who had relatives in the World Trade Centers. My heart goes out to the troops who fight for our freedoms everyday, not being certain if they will have the opportunity to return home, and the families who watch their loved ones bravely go off to war.”
He added: "Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation.... I apologize for the timing as such a sensitive matter, but it was not meant to do harm."
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Rashard Mendenhall. Credit: Keith Srakocic / Associated Press