The athlete as idiot trope traditionally strikes me as unfair. But just as I'm about to trot out examples like lefty reliever Craig Breslow, who graduated from Yale (!), to prove sports stars have smarts, someone like Pittsburgh Steeler Rashard Mendenhall takes to Twitter to prove "dumb jock" is more than a stereotype.
Mendenhall started out with a bit of promise, questioning those who were actively celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden this week. Something we've done here at The Stir as well. But things went downhill fast. On his certified account, R_Mendenhall, the running back quickly devolved into conspiracy theories:
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...
We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style
Did this dude take too many knocks on the noggin on the field? Ahem? Mr. Mendenhall? We saw it happen, over and over and over again on national TV during that sad week following September 11, 2001. If you were somehow living in a cave in Tora Bora at that precise moment, simply turn on a TV this week: it's all being re-aired, in all its depressing glory, so to speak.
Of course Mendenhall is having as hard a time taking some criticism as he is believing the truth. When asked how he dare question the events of 9/11, Mendenhall replied with the Twitter equivalent of "sticking my fingers in my ears and singing neener neener":
Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.
And what goes around, comes around, Rashard, but what of it? Spout off like an idiot online, and people are going to call you on it! In fact, Mendenhall lists himself as a "conversationalist and professional athlete" on his Twitter account. Which may be the problem here. He's opened himself -- and his idiocy -- up for discussion, inviting "conversation" without any real expertise on the subject matter. At least the last time he stirred up controversy on Twitter -- when he defended Adrian Peterson's comments about football and modern-day slavery -- he had the working knowledge of BEING in the NFL.
Here's a suggestion for Mendenhall. Either stick to subjects with which you at least have a passing familiarity (ahem, football!) or get off Twitter. It would allow us to focus on the athletes who can actually hold up the other end of a conversation.
What do you think of Mendenhall's seeming defense of Osama bin Laden?
Image via Twitter