Mendenhall, Hanesbrands reach settlement
Rashard Mendenhall and clothing retailer Hanesbrands Inc. have reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Steelers running back after controversial Twitter postings led to Mendenhall's endorsement contract being canceled.
The case was seen in legal circles as one that could set precedent regarding how morals clauses in celebrity endorsement contracts are enforced, but the settlement precludes that.
Mendenhall, a first-round draft pick in 2008, agreed to endorse Hanesbrands' Champion line of athletic gear under a three-year contract signed that year. Soon after, Mendenhall began appearing in ads for Champion, including one on a billboard close to Heinz Field.
Hanesbrands terminated the contract in 2011 after Mendenhall questioned why Americans were celebrating Osama bin Laden's death and whether the World Trade Center buildings were felled by airplanes during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Hanesbrands cited the morals clause in the contract that stated the running back could not become involved in a situation “tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or tending to shock, insult or offend.”
The clothing retailer also issued a statement in which it said it is “a strong supporter of the government's efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
Mendenhall was owed about $1 million at the time his contract was canceled.
As part of Mendenhall's First Amendment defense, his lawyers cited Hanesbrands' decision to hire actor Charlie Sheen to endorse Hanes products even after he went public challenging the government's explanation for the Sept. 11 attacks.
In April, U.S. District Court Judge James Beaty refused a motion by Hanesbrands to dismiss Mendenhall's suit.
Terms of the settlement were not known.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line
- Steelers guard Foster likes offense’s direction heading into season
- Starkey: Clayton, Steelers and ‘Shouldergate’
- Steelers gamble Chickillo can make transition to outside linebacker
- Steelers sign first-round pick Dupree
- Steelers sign 2nd-round pick Golson