If you say something reprehensible in a public forum, rest assured that the public will remind you of your worst moment.
Monday on the social media platform X, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall faced well-earned mockery when he declared himself “sick of average white guys commenting on football.”
Mendenhall made that comment as part of a lengthier post that — barring some unknown context — probably will strike most readers as one of the strangest and most racist rants in memory.
“I’m sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y’all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs. All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football. I’m better than ur goat,” Mendenhall posted.
I’m sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y’all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs. All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football. I’m better than ur goat.
— Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) December 18, 2023
Again, unless Mendenhall made those comments in some as-yet-unrevealed context, they sound truly deranged. A black vs. white Pro Bowl? “I’m better than ur goat”? By “goat” Mendenhall presumably meant the acronym for Greatest of all Time, thus implying that he was better than the greatest white player of all time, whoever that might be.
As one might expect, social media users noticed the former running back’s racist rant. Rather than reply in kind, however, most chose to remind Mendenhall of the most decisive play of his career.
On Feb. 6, 2011, Mendenhall’s Steelers met the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Behind superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers raced to an early 21-3 lead. But the Steelers rallied and cut the lead to 21-17 thanks in part to an 8-yard touchdown run by Mendenhall. Pittsburgh had all the momentum.
Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Mendenhall took a handoff on 2nd-down-and-2 from the Green Bay 33-yard-line. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who happens to be white, hit Mendenhall and caused a fumble. Green Bay recovered the fumble, scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive and never relinquished the lead en route to a 31-25 victory.
Readers may view game highlights here.
“Remember when the Steelers lost the Super Bowl because of what Clay Matthews did to you?” one X user posted in reply to Mendenhall. The post included a still photo of Matthews causing the fumble.
Remember when the Steelers lost the Super Bowl because of what Clay Matthews did to you? https://t.co/mBlAl6jhp8
— Michael C. Markert (@MichaelCMarkert) December 18, 2023
“You fumbled this post like a Super Bowl carry,” another user posted.
You fumbled this post like a Super Bowl carry
— Footy Chancellor (@FootyChancellor) December 18, 2023
Catturd, one of the most prominent conservative accounts on X at more than 2.1 million followers, got in on the act by posting a photo of Mendenhall’s fumble from a different angle.
— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) December 18, 2023
Mendenhall played five years with the Steelers and one with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring after the 2013 season. During that 2010-11 Super Bowl season, he rushed for 1,273 yards, and his 13 touchdowns ranked third in the NFL.
As a lifelong Steelers fan, I remember Mendenhall’s relatively brief career. He had good moments. At one point, I even bought a Mendenhall jersey as a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law, a fellow Steelers fan.
Perhaps that explains why I left open the possibility of some unknown context behind Mendenhall’s otherwise abhorrent post. Could it have been, for instance, the football equivalent of “White Men Can’t Jump” — the title of a 1992 movie as well as a generally good-natured conclusion often voiced on the basketball playgrounds of my youth, a conclusion I regularly demonstrated?
Five-time NFL All-Pro J.J. Watt, who had a far more accomplished career than Mendenhall and who also happens to be white, appeared to take the post in stride and even joked about it in a “White Men Can’t Jump” kind of tone.
“We’d get cooked at corner, not gonna lie. Nobody on our squad is covering Tyreek,” Watt posted along with a laughing emoji. “Tyreek” referred to blazing-fast Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, the current league leader in receiving yardage and touchdowns.
So perhaps Watt had the right approach by defusing with laughter a truly awkward and racist post.
Either way, Mendenhall has caused controversy on social media in the past.
On X in May 2011, the running back chided people who celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden. Mendenhall also questioned the official narrative on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style,” Mendenhall wrote in a since-deleted post, elements of which sound less crazy 12 years later.
If nothing else, therefore, the former running back has always spoken his mind.
Unfortunately, if he meant his “average white guys” post seriously, then he should have kept quiet.
In the end, perhaps the best reply to that post came from podcaster Brett Kollmann.
“Which team gets Mahomes[?]” Kollmann posted in reference to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Which team gets Mahomes
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) December 18, 2023
It was the perfect question. After all, the two-time Super Bowl champion Mahomes has a black father and a white mother.
So where would Mahomes play? Is he black or white?
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.