Champion Drops Steelers Rashard Mendenhall Because Of Twitter Comments

Rashard MendenhallSteelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has suffered backlash from a corporate sponsor for his Twitter comments on the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden and his views of the events of 9/11 just a few days ago. Michael McCarthy from USA Today reports that the athletic wear company Champion is ending their business relationship with Mendenhall because the company doesn\’t think he can appropriately represent the company going forward. Mendenhall has endorsed the Champion brand since 2008 and was scheduled to do so through 2015 after Champion recently extended their relationship with him according to McCarthy.

As I wrote a few days ago, the backlash was pretty much expected and the Steelers have done their best as well to distance themselves from the views of Mendenhall and Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert has since called his comments ill-advised. Mendenhall tried to clarify his tweets yesterday on his new blog, but it evidently was not enough to satisfy Champion.

The full Champion statement is below:

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, 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.

  • Professional Athletes David

    So, the lesson would be really to watch our words either speaking verbally or sharing our thoughts electronically. Especially if your a public figure, we must filter what we think is right to take care of our reputation for our supporters and sponsors sake:)

  • Chumpeeon

    This is yet another example of how detrimental Facebook can be to your career. I stopped using it when my cousin got fired for unfriending her supervisor.
    The more information you put out there about your thoughts and feelings, the more you expose yourself to whoever is watching you, whether it be your friends, your family, your neighbor, your employer, the local agencies, the child molester down the street or the theif with no job who is waiting for you to post your work hours so he knows when your house is going to be empty.
    Mendenhal’s comments were not anti-American at all. But as soon as the media perceives it as a story, they will MAKE it a story.
    So he thinks the 2 towers was in inside job- so do A LOT of ppl who swallowed hard on Michael Moore’s propeganda movie. There are ppl who think Elvis is still alive. So what.

    The problem becomes when your opinion goes against the grain of the common belief, and you post it out there for all to see.

    I have an opinion about everything too, I just don’t see the need to paint it on the front of my house.

  • nemo

    Back to school? Run by the government? Demolition experts agree with him. You need to do YOUR homework.

  • Tony

    What happened to freedom of speech in this country. That is his opinion and his should be free to express it. I know that there are millions of people who agree with him and I happen to be one of them. Rashard stock to your guns, if a man has nothing else in this life, he should have his own opinion.