Pittsburgh Steelers Issue Statement On Controversial ‘Tweets’ Of Running Back Rashard Mendenhall After Successful U.S. Action Against Osama Bin Laden

Pittsburgh Steelers’ President Art Rooney II, the son of U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, has issued a statement in response to controversial Tweets attributed to Steelers’ running back Rashard Mendenhall after the United States killed Osama bin Laden two days ago.

The Tweets have sparked a web firestorm and enraged one of America’s hardest-working cities. Pittsburgh, a community of both brawn and brain, does not suffer fools gladly.

And it does not like to see its storied football franchise and its beloved Rooney family drawn into controversies.

“I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments,” Art Rooney said in a statement on the Steelers’ website. “The entire Steelers’ organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon.”

Bin Laden’s terrorist group killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Bin Laden was found Sunday hiding in a mansion in Pakistan. The news of his death sparked spontaneous street celebrations in U.S. cities.

Did Mendenhall use Twitter to elicit sympathy for the terrorist leader?

“What kind of person celebrates death?” a Tweet attributed to Mendenhall read. “It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side . . .”

Another Tweet attributed to Mendenhall seemed to touch on a conspiracy theory that raised doubts about what really happened at the collapsed Twin Towers in New York City nearly a decade ago.

“We’ll never know what really happened,” a Tweet attributed to Mendenhall read. “I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

Other Tweets attributed to Mendenhall appeared to suggest Americans had judged Bin Laden too harshly after the murderous 9/11 ambush from the skies.

“Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves,” one Tweet read.

“I believe in God,” read another. “I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.”

The Twitter site did not explain whether the United States should have done nothing after being attacked on its own shores in September 2001. Nor did it explain whether the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Obama had any duty to defend the United States in the aftermath of the devastating attacks or seek justice for the American people and the families of victims of the attacks.

The burgeoning Mendenhall flap was occurring against the backdrop of an appearance today on Capitol Hill by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder before the House Judiciary Committee.

“As I have stated often, no aspect of our work is more important — or more urgent — than protecting the American people,” Holder told the panel. “This is our top priority — and our most fundamental responsibility.

“Two days ago — with the death of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the world’s most wanted terrorist — our nation made historic progress in fulfilling this responsibility, and in achieving justice for the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who were murdered on September 11, 2001,” Holder said.

Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney, a lifelong Republican, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ireland in 2009 by President Obama, who ordered the action against bin Laden. Navy SEALs carried out the operation, and the President lauded the “tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals.”

The embassy’s website features information on the action and the death of bin Laden. Ambassador Dan Rooney praised the President and the action.

Ambassador Dan Rooney

“I am proud and grateful for the President and all the men and women of intelligence and military communities for their constant demonstration of courage and bravery,” Rooney said in a statement on the embassy website. “Their actions this weekend have made the world a safer and more just place to live for all humanity.”

“Capturing or killing bin Laden had been a U.S. goal even before the 2001 attacks,” the website noted. “He declared war on the United States and its allies in 1996, and al-Qaida was considered responsible for the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 suicide attack against the USS Cole in Yemen.”

Mendenhall is regarded as one of the top young runners in the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Mendenhall earlier had used Twitter to compare “the lot of NFL players to that of slaves in the old South.”

The Post-Gazette reported in 2008 that Mendenhall had a five-year, $12.55 million contract with the Steelers that guaranteed him $7.125 million.

Pittsburgh took great pride in Obama’s nomination of Dan Rooney to the embassy post.

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One Response to “Pittsburgh Steelers Issue Statement On Controversial ‘Tweets’ Of Running Back Rashard Mendenhall After Successful U.S. Action Against Osama Bin Laden”

  1. The Pirates, Pittsburgh’s Major League Baseball franchise, visited the Navy SEALs in San Diego yesterday: