Rashard Mendenhall wrote some thoughtless shit on Twitter after Bin Laden's death last week. Whatever you think about American military operations, or the popular reaction to the US mission, it's fair to say that Mendenhall's tweets didn't represent an athlete's thoughtful examination of jingoism and US foreign policy. He was trolling us.
"I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style." That's the kind of thing a rank, bearded Unitarian protesting on your town green, not a latter-day Ali, would say.
Mendenhall clarified one remark on his blog—although he deleted the 9/11 conspiracy theory tweet and doesn't refer to it there—with some scripture, saying "It was my way to generate conversation." Whatever.
Of course, who better to take part in a generated conversation than the rotating stooges from ESPN's First and Ten? Scoop Jackson won the honor of sitting across from Skip Bayless on this week's panel. You can watch the video here, although we have the most odious bits in the clip above and reprinted below.
Bayless says that Mendenhall is a "very deep guy, and I do respect him as a thinker, whether you agree or disagree with his beliefs." Demosthenes, Montaigne, Hobbes, perhaps they were thinkers worthy of Skip Bayless's respect. But a running back who tweets that he can't believe 9/11 wasn't a conspiracy? And then deletes that tweet? Mendenhall's gonna have a tough time defending that dissertation.
Then, though, Jay Crawford decides to ask Scoop Jackson what he would do, were he in charge of athletes with Twitter.
Says Scoop, "At some point there has to be some responsibilities taken on their side, and them understanding what happens to them if they do go out and do something out of line, that's not representative of where we stand by as a company. I mean, we have to do this here, we have to, we have to, Disney! It's the same thing. We can't say anything out of place without Disney, and we've been told that."
We can't really understand what flustered Scoop meant to say here—although I think he's saying that Mendenhall should face the consequences of his remarks. (For example: Champion canceled his endorsement deal, which means Mendenhall will now have to pay for his cheap sweatpants.)
But we're delighted by just how baffled he is when he has to talk about the WWL's Twitter policy. "We have to, we have to, Disney," everybody. Words that speak for a generation of aggrieved ESPN talent. Talent who now can only show off their biceps or squabble with Keith Olbermann on Twitter. It's okay with the overlords, nothing controversial, nothing that makes you think. But they'd rather you shut up and tell the people to watch Wizards of Waverly Place. Or, you know, Dancing With The Stars.