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Twitter comments cost Mendenhall endorsement deal

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By Scott Brown
Friday, May 6, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall's controversial Twitter comments this week about the death of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorist attacks have cost him an endorsement deal.

Champion, an athletic apparel manufacturer, cut ties Thursday with the Steelers running back.

Mendenhall recently signed a four-year contract with Champion and had been with the company since his NFL career started in 2008.

"While we respect Mr. Mendenhall's right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer belief that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion," the company said in a prepared statement.

Mendenhall could not be reached for comment. His agent, Mike McCartney, did not immediately return a message.

Mendenhall on Monday took exception to the celebrations sparked by the killing of bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He questioned on the social-networking website Twitter how the planes flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City could have brought them down "demolition style."

Champion said it "strongly disagreed" with Mendenhall's views.

Mendenhall attempted to clarify his comments Wednesday and apologized if he "unintentionally harmed" anyone.

He has been under fire since his comments sparked a national story — and caused Steelers president Art Rooney II to say in a statement that "it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments."

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