Champion ends endorsement deal with Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall after bin Laden and 9/11 tweets

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  • Champion ends endorsement deal with Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall after bin Laden and 9/11 tweets

Champion ends endorsement deal with Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall after bin Laden and 9/11 tweets

Tweets posted about Osama bin Laden and September 11 cost Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall an endorsement deal with athletic apparel manufacturer Champion.

The company announced that it had dropped their deal with Mendenhall after he posted tweets that questioned the official account about what happened on September 11, 2001 and uncertainty about the death of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

Matt Hall, spokesman for Champion athletic apparel, said that the company was “ending our relationship” with the running back and that the company felt that Mendenhall couldn’t “appropriately represent Champion.”

Mendenhall signed a four year deal with the company earlier this year but had been endorsing Champion since 2008.

After United States Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, Mendenhall took to his Twitter account to question celebrations, saying, "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE and man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side....”

In another tweet right after the first one, Mendenhall questioned whether an airline could really bring down the World Trade Center on the day in which thousands lost their lives, almost ten thousand were injured and millions were grieving over the loss of loved ones. Mendenhall said "I just have a hard time believing a plan could take a skyscraper down demolition style" and then told those that follow him on Twitter to “think” about whether it was really possible or not.

After the controversial tweets, many people questioned and disapproved of Mendenhall’s posts which pushed him to apologize and clarify the tweets saying “I see how they have gotten misconstrued” and that the “controversial statement was something I said in response to the amount of joy I saw in the event of a murder,” referring to the tweet about celebrating  death.

Even though he did go on to apologize for the tweets, Champion still ended the endorsement deal saying that the views that Mendenhall held of the 9/11 attacks and the death of bin Laden were not consistent with the views that the apparel company held. They also said that they strongly disagreed with Mendenhall’s statements, which caused the company to question their business relationship with him which resulted in them eliminating any and all affiliation with the Steelers’ running back.

After being drafted 23rd overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Illinois, Mendenhall started in one of the four games that he played in during his rookie season. He recorded 19 rushing attempts for 58 yards and two receptions for 17 yards.

In his second season, Mendenhall played in all 16 games but started in only 12. He recorded 242 rushing attempts for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns. His 2010 season was his best yet, starting in all 16 games and recording 1,273 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. 

 

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