In Twitter rant, Rashard Mendenhall calls Ben Roethlisberger ‘a racist’ |
Breakfast With Benz

In Twitter rant, Rashard Mendenhall calls Ben Roethlisberger ‘a racist’

Tim Benz
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) hands the ball off to running back Rashard Mendenhall (34) in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Cleveland.

Just when you thought the cycle of former Steelers blaming Antonio Brown’s actions on Ben Roethlisberger had ended, you get this accusation from former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.

He flat out calls the Steelers quarterback a racist.

Note, there is no context for that. Nor does Mendenhall give any example of how–or why he thinks–Roethlisberger is racist.

It’s quite a leap for a black running back who perhaps simply dislikes his white quarterback — which may be the truth here — to make the ugly statement of calling him a racist.

As for the the “slave” reference, go ahead and internalize that on your own.

But calling Roethlisberger “racist” is a significant claim. And Mendenhall normally isn’t quiet when it comes to his opinions. Yet, he sat on this massive allegation since he came into the league in 2008.

Much like Josh Harris with “Fumblegate,” this strikes me as an ex-Steelers player being opportunistic with criticism of Roethlisberger because it is easy to do now and will make him relevant after plummeting into obscurity.

Also, for Mendenhall to follow up that charge with “it’s not a big deal” shows just how flippant he is being with decision to make this opinion public.

Calling someone a racist is a big deal, Rashard. Which is why it shouldn’t be done haphazardly with nothing to back up your words.

Futher illustrating that point is another tweet sent by Mendenhall a few hours after the initial claims.

What is that? Is that supposed to be a retraction? If it is, it’s not good enough.

By reading this follow up, I’m guessing Mendenhall calling Roethlisberger a racist is some sort of counter to a “dirtbag” slap at Antonio Brown that Mendenhall may have seen online. That’s a ridiculous attempt at administering “Twitter justice.”

If this is Mendenhall walking back his initial statement or clarifying it, it’s as dumb as sending the original tweet in the first place.

It will be interesting to see if any of Roethlisberger’s current — or former — teammates stick up for him here. So far, offensive lineman Ramon Foster issued this statement Thursday morning after Mendenhall’s comments gained traction.

This post doesn’t directly mention Mendenhall’s comments. But given the timing, and the slew of previous attacks on Roethisberger and the team in recent weeks, it’s hard to see Foster’s decree as anything less than a response to Mendenhall’s stream of consciousness.

Roethlisberger has maintained silence through all of the criticism. This may be a harsh enough of a statement that he’ll feel the need to respond.

I tweeted back to Mendenhall, asking if he was going to provide any context or examples of why he felt this way. Or if he was just going to throw this extremely damaging statement out there with no further corroboration of his claim.

If he gives a response, we’ll update this story.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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