Ethics Dunce: Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall

Translation: "I am an Ethics Dunce."

Twitter is a wonderful invention; it used to require a blog to efficiently alert the world to one’s intellectual, logical and ethical deficiencies.  Now NFL star Rashard Mendenhall is using 140 characters to accomplish the same task, and doing a bang-up job of it, I must say.

Mendenhall has his employers, the Pittsburgh Steelers—not to mention his agent—scrambling to do damage control after the athlete emitted a series of provocative tweets in response to the death of Osama bin Laden. My personal favorite:

“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

This outburst illustrates the fallacy of the “judge not” (“….lest ye be judged”) crowd as succinctly as it gets, these being the conscientious objectors to enforcing ethical standards by designating particular conduct as right or wrong, as well as those who feel that providing consequences for particularly wrongful conduct is presumptuous, because none of us is perfect, and judgment should be left to Someone Else, karma, or, as wrongdoers know isoften the case, no one at all. Using Osama bin Laden’s death to make such an argument does us the favor of reaching the reductio ad absurdum disproof immediately, with no assistance from an adversary. What kind of person celebrates the death of a shameless mass murderer who was still trying to kill him and his family? A normal person. How can one hate someone without hearing him speak? Oh, how about when someone kills 3,000 people in a sneak attack, intentionally causes dire political, social and economic chaos in your country, and boasts about it?

“We’ve only heard one side…”

We’ve only heard one side?????

Well, now let’s be fair: maybe Osama had a really, really reasonable explanation for bombing the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the other places he bombed. “Oh, that was the reason? Okay then; now we understand!”

If Mendenhall can’t figure out that there is no other side to a mass murder, and that we don’t have to know that Osama was having a really bad day when he decided to kill all those people, or that he was reading about the Crusades one day and just got incredibly ticked off, or that somebody dared him to do it, or that he only meant to kill a few hundred people and things just got out of hand, then even 140 character-long musings on life  are too much. Mendenhall is an Ethics Dunce, and we don’t have to “hear him speak” evidence to make that judgment.

10 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall

  1. Jack,
    I’m not upset that he’s dead and understand the world is likely a safer place because of it. Nonetheless, we’re looking at a tragic situation in which one person caused the death and injury of thousands and was “put down” (for lack of a better term) because of it. Osama bin Laden proved himself unworthy of his humanity long ago, but bringing about his end isn’t something we should be proud of or admire. Justice has not been served as there are still countless dead whose deaths have not been more meaningful or okay because of what happened in Pakistan.

    Moreover, whatever Mr. Mendenhall may have said is irrelevant as he’s a football player and has absolutely no say in world politics or foreign diplomacy.


    • That’s why he’s just an Ethics Dunce…though I chose him because his sentiment is disturbingly common.

      There’s a difference between cheering the fact that Osama is dead, which is worth cheering, and cheering the various ethical compromises that led to the way he was killed—for example, the fact that he wasn’t going to be captured alive if he came out nude waving a white flag. I’m in agreement with you on that score.

      • Rashard Mendenhall, is a perfect example on how our university’s just push thru talented football players, without actually giving them an education. I guess he didn’t see the video’s bin laden, put out there taking credit for 9-11. He also said when the nfl had a lockout he said, playing in the nfl parallels being a slave. I think Dan Rooney should let that slave go, and lets see how his uneducated ass can fend for himself without football, I think he would be much happier saying do you want fries with that!

  2. Not related to Mendenhall, but here’s a fail by the media and our government.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday publicly revised the administration’s account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, telling reporters that the Al Qaeda leader wasn’t armed during the assault and didn’t use one of his wives as a shield.

    On Monday evening, the White House had backed away from key details in its narrative about the raid, including claims by senior U.S. officials that bin Laden had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces.
    Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid.

    Carney read a statement to reporters Tuesday seeking to clarify discrepancies. He said bin Laden “was not armed.” When a U.S. “assaulter” approached bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader’s “wife” rushed the assaulter. That woman was shot but not killed, Carney said.

    If I’m reading this right, this means our government killed our most wanted criminal who was unarmed or at best semi-armed at the time and then lied about it. This obviously leaves zero chance of a trial such as the one given to Saddam and would have provided closure to everyone immediately affected by 9/11. And our press ran every single detail without a shred of fact-checking. So much for our so-called ideals.

    • You may be being a bit harsh–how could the press check when the only source is the government? Why the details were so mangled, I have no idea…it certainly isn’t going to help stop rumors and conspiracy theories. The whole thing reminds me too much of the killing of John Wilkes Booth.

  3. I guess where I’m getting lost on this “no trial” thing is that the book has been closed on him for at least 8 years with no rebuttal, and in fact a confession and a boast of responsibility. If Osama wanted a trial, he could have had one. He could have had a US trial if he turned himself in, an international trial at the Hague if he contacted them, or a trial in the court of public opinion if he had tried to say “NOT ME!”.

    Trials are for those who maintain their innocence. He professed his guilt. And certainly, the crimes for which he professed his guilt would certainly have garnered the death penalty. There was simply no need to run the circles and certainly I’m happy we didn’t have to decide if we would compromise our ideals and torture him first or give some rookie guard a chance to screw up and violate his “human rights”.

    • We did decide. We took the easy way out and proved that we’re no better than anyone else.

      I’m not sure if that’s sadder or the fact that everyone seems to be cheering & gloating over it.

      • We decided when we put up a poster that said “Dead or Alive” and no one said word one. What exactly did you think that meant?

        What miscarriage of justice do you think has occurred? We cheer that justice has been served. Sure, a particularly cold brand of justice, but justice nonetheless.

        Those people that are cheering, you mistake them. They aren’t cheering the death of an individual, they’re cheering on a grander scale everything that has implications rooted in the death. The death is just a flash point. These people see the forest when you can only see 1 tree.

  4. Oh, Twitter. The realm of fools and dip****s.

    And we HAVE heard him speak. He’s released video after video taunting us. You don’t play chicken with America and expect them to be amused.

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