Dear Rashard Mendenhall: I Encourage YOU to Think

Your Reaction to American’s Reaction to the Death of Bin Laden is Laced with Judgments

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 5th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Rashard, considering the timing you’ve posted some stirring tweets regarding the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. Since one of your tweets is, “I don’t have an ignorant bone in my body”, you cannot use the excuse that these are your personal feelings that you posted on a private page. As a star running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers you are a celebrity and you know that what you post on Twitter is for public consumption.

Regarding 9/11 you tweeted: “We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.” Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Is that what you are claiming to be regarding 9/11 or are you implying that you are a truther who believes the U.S. did 9/11 to itself? If so, to what do you base that judgment?

Regarding God you tweeted: “I believe in God. I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.” I respect your religious beliefs Rashard. Ultimately God offers the final judgment. However, we humans still have to hold each other accountable for our actions and behaviors. Don’t we? Besides any opinion in the absence of absolute facts is a judgment of some kind.

YOU apparently are judging the NFL when YOU compare it to or say it “parallels” slavery. Which you did when you tweeted: “Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other”.

YOU are judging President Clinton, Bush, Obama the U.S. government and everyone who has served over the last fourteen years when you say we don’t know what really happened on 9/11 and infer a possible U.S. involvement and thus a massive cover-up.

On OBL’s death itself you 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…”. I didn’t celebrate it because his death won’t bring back the thousands of people whose deaths he is tied too. However, not only is OBL tied to the deaths of thousands, he declared war on this country, your country, and if he had his way he would have killed millions more.

This war on terrorism has cost us a significant amount in blood and treasure. Given what he has done, what he has said and claimed responsibility for, and what he would have done if given the chance, the fact that he can no longer harm us is cause for celebration.

As for hating a man we never heard speak, well unless you think it was someone from Saturday Night Live dressing up as him, we did hear him speak in those videos he released. And since these videos were authenticated and also presented by the Arabic network Al Jazeera, than if it’s not him they must be in on the conspiracy too.

Another tweet on judgment: “Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.” Judge me all you want Rashard, since I never plan to murder anyone, commit any acts of terrorism, or commit any crimes, I fear no judgment. It is the guilty, and the hypocritical who should beware. And if I err in any capacity or can benefit from an accurate judgment, and such is bestowed upon me, then hopefully I will have the ego strength to accept, learn and grow from such a judgment. This too, I do not fear.

On the sentiment that OBL should burn, you tweeted: “For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn … I ask how would God feel about your heart?”

On its own this could spark an interesting philosophical debate. In the context of your other musings it is tinged with judgment and with the intent to make people feel guilt or regret.

In evaluating (a precursor to judgment) others’ reactions to the death of OBL, is not any conclusion, positive or negative, a judgment? For better or for worse, isn’t judging part of the living, growing, and the evolutionary process of human consciousness? We could spend hours debating the judgment of behavior versus judgment of the person but judgment, to some degree, is it not inescapable?

Let me ask you Rashard, when the towers went down what were you tweeting then? What have you tweeted about Al Qaeda? About OBL? About radical Muslims when they burn the American flag, drag soldiers in the street? What is in your heart about your country that you tweet this way about it and its people? What do you tweet about her enemies? Or, do you view her as your enemy?

Another tweet of yours: “There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think.” This can be interpreted as an arrogant statement Rashard. We are all ignorant on one thing or another. Me? I’m ignorant about a lot. There is no shame in that. To be ignorant of nothing is to know everything about everything. Is that what you are saying about yourself?

Now that I think about it, I don’t encourage you to think, I encourage you to get some therapy. I say this not with hate in my heart, rather with compassion for a talented, thoughtful athlete who sounds like he has some noble but perhaps misguided spiritual beliefs and unresolved issues towards his own country and the people in it.

Good luck to you sir — peace on the journey.


Update: Rashard Mendenhall issued an apology yesterday that you can view here:
(This article was originally published on May 3rd. Date change is a reflection this update)

 Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

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