Apology Expected

This isn’t about freedom of speech. In this country, you are allowed to say what you want to say. You can have any opinion you want, and you are free to express it.

This isn’t about Twitter or social media. I happen to love social media, Twitter in particular, but it does give plenty of less-than-stellar minds an open forum to vomit out their stream of consciousness.

This is about the outrage I feel that Rashard Mendenhall, the running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has apologized for some idiotic comments and not others.

In particular, he has said he is sorry for sounding unpatriotic in some recent tweets about reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death. He has even gone back and deleted the tweets.

Although he has lost an endorsement deal with Champion because of the unpatriotic-sounding tweets, and he has gotten a pass from the media  — and from the Steelers’ front office — because he’s apologized, I’m still struggling with this.

Because what Mendenhall did NOT apologize for were the tweets that made him sound like a misogynist prick. He has also deleted those, apparently, but you can see the full glory of his former twitter stream at That’s Church.

I’m not calling for Mendenhall’s head — pun intended. I don’t want the Rooneys to trade or fire the guy. He’s a football player, not a brain trust.

But I would, as a life-long, diehard, female fan of the Steelers, like an apology. Mendenhall’s comments about what constitutes “respect” in regards to women was appalling. Ugly. Misogynistic.

After taking the stand I took a couple of days ago in relation to how girls are talked about, I can’t just let this go. I am raising two more female Steelers fans, and I’m tired of the bad behavior.

I know team sports is a big old boys’ club. That’s fine. What is not fine is when, as a society, we continue to give the boys’ bad behavior toward women — punching 20-year-olds in the head in public restrooms, beating on wives and baby mamas — a pass.

If we aren’t going to trade the big boys, the least we can do is make them stand up and say their behavior is wrong. The Rooneys have passed along some less than stellar players who got in trouble in public — Santonio “that’s my weed” Holmes and Jeff “Skippy Skeeve” Reed are two that jump to mind. If they want to make the players with anger that manifests itself in spousal/girlfriend abuse take anger management classes instead of trading them, okay. I’ll deal with that.

But an apology isn’t too much to ask. Or demand.

I’ll wait. I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time.

I am emailing this post to Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette, because his article about Mendenhall’s apology is what really, finally set me off. If Mendenhall still has a Twitter account, I’m going to @ him so he sees the link to this post, too. Not that I expect anything will happen, but I have a voice and I need to raise it.

4 thoughts on “Apology Expected

  1. It’s funny how when people get caught saying something incredibly stupid, the first thing they do is proclaim that they have rights to an opinion. Which, of course, was never the issue… spouting off like a pinhead is.

    For what it’s worth, I’m appalled that there has been zero play given to his tweets on man/woman relations. Maybe the editors are too afraid of the subject matter…

    • The confusion about what actually constitutes censorship runs rampant. Yes, you have freedom of speech. The government isn’t going to stop you from saying something stupid. Unfortunately, the government isn’t going to stop other people from criticizing the stupid thing you say.

      ZERO play. Not the Rooneys, not the Pittsburgh sports writers, not… I don’t know Peter King from SI. Last time I looked, female NFL fans were a significant portion of sales. One would hope that this bad-boy culture would start turning us ladies off (I’ve reached my personal tolerance level, that’s for sure), and the bottom line would be affected. But I doubt that is going to happen, either.

  2. I too wondered why hardly anyone (other than a couple of sports guys on the Fan) was talking or writing about Mendie’s anti-women tweets, and I suspect Bluz is probably right. But like you, I find those tweets so much worse than anything else he said. And I think so little of him as a result.

    I get really annoyed when people quote the Bible or ask how God would feel about something and then say and do things that are so wrong. Hey, Rashard, do you really think God appreciates what YOU are saying?!

    I hate to say it, but I feel fairly certain Mendie is NOT sorry, so hearing him apologize would do nothing for me. But I could be wrong, and it seems a little hypocritical of me to judge him. Sigh.

    • I didn’t hear any commentary on it (aside from at That’s Church), so you’re one up on me.

      It’s less about apologizing for thinking/feeling a certain way — no one can “make” you feel or think any one way. But acknowledging that the way he spoke or tweeted about women was just as offensive about what he tweeted about 9/11 or bin Laden would be a big step. He doesn’t have to go around making reparations to rape victims, but an apology for SAYING those things would be nice.

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