Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Champion Apparel Says... the company issued a statement today saying they were dropping Mendenhall as a spokesman for their product. Here was their official statement:
"Champion is a strong supporter of the government's efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall, who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall's right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best."
I commend Rashard Mendenhall for speaking out for what he believes. He is not against our troops. He is not against our President. He is not against America. He was simply stating that some Americans need to remember that the same celebration they were doing for the murder of Osama Bin Laden, extremists around the world were doing when 9/11 happened 10 years ago. As Mahatma Gandhi says..."an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." Don't lose sight of what Mr. Mendenhall was saying.
As for Champion Apparel, unfortunately, this is very typical of an American based company during a controversy. Instead of coming out and saying, "while we don't agree with Mr. Mendenhall's view on this issue, we respect any citizen's ability to speak up for their beliefs. We believe it is right of all Americans to feel safe to express their opinions in a democracy." Would that have been so difficult to say?