Steelers' Mendenhall clarifies bin Laden tweets
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The "clarification" that Steelers halfback Rashard Mendenhall wrote in his blog Wednesday ignored a particularly incendiary Twitter post by him after the death of Osama bin Laden that set off a firestorm of protest around the country.
In a 500-word blog post, Mendenhall said he in no way supported bin Laden, expressed sympathy for those killed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist acts and affirmed his support for the military. He apologized, not for what he wrote, but for anyone hurt by what he wrote and the timing of it. He said the thoughts were merely his opinions.
He explained only one of his series of Monday tweets that landed him among the most discussed topics on the popular social networking site.
Mendenhall cited his religious beliefs in his blog for questioning why people celebrated the death of bin Laden. However, he did not mention the other Twitter post that enraged many people: "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style"
That tweet was removed from Mendenhall's Twitter comments Tuesday.
According to a Mendenhall representative, the words in his blog are his and not written by someone for him.
The series of comments Mendenhall posted Monday on Twitter brought a response from Steelers president Art Rooney II, who said in a statement that "it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant." Rooney offered no comment on Mendenhall's clarification.
Here is what Mendenhall wrote in his blog:
"I appreciate those of you who have decided to read this letter and attain a greater understanding of my recent twitter posts. I see how they have gotten misconstrued, and wanted to use this outlet as a way to clear up all things that do not truthfully represent myself, what I stand for personally, and any organization that I am a part of.
"First, I want people to understand that I am not in support of Bin Laden, or against the USA. 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. Last year, I was grateful enough to have the opportunity to travel over seas and participate in a football camp put on for the children of US troops stationed in Germany. It was a special experience. These events have had a significant impact in my life."
Mendenhall then repeated one of the Twitter posts that generated controversy:
" '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 ...' "
He then continued on his blog:
"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. In the bible, Ezekiel 33:11 states, "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!...". I wasn't questioning Bin Laden's evil acts. I believe that he will have to face God for what he has done. I was reflecting on our own hypocrisy. During 9/11 we watched in horror as parts of the world celebrated death on our soil. Earlier this week, parts of the world watched us in horror celebrating a man's death.
"Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation. In looking at my timeline in its entirety, everything that I've said is with the intent of expressing a wide array of ideas and generating open and honest discussions, something I believe we as American citizens should be able to do. Most opinions will not be fully agreed upon and are not meant to be. However, I believe every opinion should be respected or at least given some thought. I apologize for the timing as such a sensitive matter, but it was not meant to do harm. I apologize to anyone I unintentionally harmed with anything that I said, or any hurtful interpretation that was made and put in my name.
"It was only meant to encourage anyone reading it to think."
First Published May 5, 2011 12:00 am