As sporting teams, fans and athletes across America celebrated the news Osama bin Laden had been killed, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall was raising eyebrows with his views on the terror leader.
Through various posts on his Twitter account, Mendenhall questioned the widespread reaction of joy at bin Laden’s demise, while also expressing his doubts as to whether the public really knew the truth about 9/11.
“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,” Mendenhall wrote, before adding his view on the Twin Towers attack.
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”
Mendenhall has caused controversy via his Twitter account in the past, agreeing with Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson’s comment that compared the NFL labor situation to slavery in the lead up to the lockout.
His reaction was in stark contrast to that of the majority of the sporting nation, with baseball’s Nationals honouring the military in Washington, a special rendition of the national anthem performed at Game 1 of the NBA playoff series between Chicago and Atlanta, and tweets coming from athletes far and wide hailing bin Laden’s death.
“USA USA USA!!” tweeted seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, while New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees wrote, “God Bless America.”
Former world No. 1 tennis star Andy Roddick and five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson both expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the military.
“Words cannot do justice to the amount of thanks we should bestow upon those whose life mission it is to keep the world safe. Thank you,” Roddick tweeted.
“Man, I went to bed early and missed the big news. What a way to wake up though. Thanks to all the men and women who serve our country,” Johnson wrote.
However, at other NFL players were concerned about the news, fearing it may result in more attacks on the US.
“Now that Osama has been killed what about those willing to revenge his death? How do u fight or defend against those willing 2 die 4 a cause?” Cincinnati Bengals receiver Ochocinco tweeted.