Arts & Culture
Shtickball: Athletes Say The Darndest Things, Sometimes About Terrorists
We wanted to title this “Sometimes athletes shouldn’t talk,” but figured it’s better to be nice. Read More
On principle, I have no problem with athletes speaking their minds. I think too often sports commissioners put on a fascistic display of attempting to impose finishing school restrictions on the players. It’s a fruitless endeavor that will never work because these guys are paid way too much money not to do whatever the hell they want. I’m thrilled any time an athlete can successfully buck the trend of ‘don’t pay any attention to him he is a thoroughbred of a moron’. It’s great to see guys actually speaking their minds on topics they genuinely care about. Sometimes, those statements don’t exactly come out clean. Tuesday’s culprit was Rashard Mendenhall, who decided to tweet that the jury’s still out on Osama Bin Laden. This is the kind of thing that unfortunately puts Skip Bayless and Scoop Jackson in a room together to debate banning all athletes from social media. And NO ONE WANTS THAT, RASHARD. For God’s sake Skip is talking about ‘the dangers of Twitter’ like it’s one of those horrible biological weapons profiled on 24. It’s like he’s trapped in Orwell’s 1984 and he just gets dropped into ESPN studios every day to go ‘Get off my lawn’ bonkers on everyone’s ass.
Now I don’t know Rashard Mendenhall. He could be a deacon at his church, a boxing coach to local inner city kids, shit, I’m just mentioning characters from The Wire. You get the point. Unfortunately the nuanced argument that ‘people have never heard Osama Bin Laden speak’ is directly contradicted by the plethora of audio and video messages recorded by Bin Laden over the past decade. Does he mean we’ve never shared a podium with the man? (I’m lookin’ at you Gary Bettman!) Because then yes, I agree, we probably haven’t. But we have heard him speak. About neatly piling up bodies of Westerners. To say we haven’t is categorically false. Unless I guess you could argue that maybe its not him on the tapes? I think the steady stream of them probably proves that it is in fact him. But I’ll wait for Rashard to clarify that before I believe it. He has classified himself as a ‘conversationalist’ and notwithstanding this bit of verbal diarrhea; I’m excited for all future Mendenhall tweets. Who knows, maybe this will actually ignite more players to speak their minds, and we’ll find out Blake Griffin loves Jane Eyre or Jose Reyes is a self-proclaimed expert on The Stone Roses? Unfortunately what usually happens is that players are told by their team to immediately post a clarification/vague apology or face a fine. Which is exactly what Rashard Mendenhall did! Way to toe the company line, buddy! Personally, I’ll take Tim Hardaway’s gay- bashing bald dome over David Ortiz’s smiling beard anyday. But that’s just because my goal is to crash Skip Bayless’s horrible hopes for an un-fun world.
On a related note, and I don’t mean to be distasteful, but how much time do people need to process this Bin Laden ordeal before we mobilize to get his half brother Scott?