Rashard Mendenhall is suing sports apparel company Champion after they dropped him as an endorser following his controversial 9/11 tweets. You may recall that in May that Mendenhall expressed his doubt that the airplanes could take out the twin towers in New York city. Mendenhall tried to “clarify” his thoughts a day later, but his “clarification” left out the most ignorant aspect of his tweets. Two days later, Champion dropped him.
Now, CNBC reports that Mendenhall is suing Champion for terminating his deal. “This case involves the core question of whether an athlete employed as a celebrity endorser loses the right to express opinions simply because the company whose products he endorses might disagree with some (but not all) of those opinions,” the suit reportedly says.
According to CNBC:
The company can terminate him if he “commits or is arrested for any crime or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult or offend the majority of the consuming public.”
Hopefully Mendenhall doesn’t get anything from this suit. Champion is paying him to endorse their product, and he offended the majority of the consuming public with his comments, so there appears to be ground to dismiss him. If he were so concerned with keeping his sponsors happy and not rocking the boat, he would have kept his mouth shut.
Honestly though, sometimes it’s more important to have people unafraid to speak up than it is to have people who will keep quiet for money. Michael Jordan infamously refused to comment on political issues because “Republicans buy sneakers too,” and he lost an opportunity to be a difference-making voice. In Mendenhall’s case however, it’s probably best for him if he doesn’t let everyone know how ignorant his viewpoints are.Google+