Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is clarifying his controversial recent comments about 9/11 and the death of Osama Bin Laden in a blog post. He writes that he does not support Bin Laden, and that he does support American troops.
That's when things get weird, however:
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.
Point taken that celebrating death might seem like a weird thing to do. However, Mendenhall absolutely did question "Bin Laden's evil acts," and it's amazing that he's trying to claim otherwise. He wrote:
I'm not convinced he was even behind the attacks we have really seen no evidence to prove it other than the gov telling us
Mendenhall might not be questioning the acts themselves, but he's certainly questioning whether Bin Laden had any role in them. That tweet, and at least one other that questioned whether it would be possible for an airplane to knock over a skyscraper, have since been deleted. In his recent statement Mendenhall appears to be taking for granted that Bin Laden was behind 9/11, but that wasn't the case at all when the original series of tweets came out.
Although I think Mendenhall's original comments were idiotic, I support his right to make them, and I don't think we should shame athletes with unconventional views into silence. However, this recent blog post is less a "clarification" of what Mendenhall actually said than an attempt to pretend that a lot of what he said didn't actually happen.
For more on the Mendenhall controversy, check out this post about whether Mendenhall could be traded, and this one about the Steelers' response to his comments.