Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall has decided to retire from football after just six seasons in the NFL. The 26-year-old battled knee and toe issues throughout much of the 2013 season, but injuries are not the reason for his decision. Mendenhall tried to explain himself in a well-reasoned essay he wrote for the Huffington Post on Sunday.
Mendenhall said he feels that he has “done it all” after reaching two Super Bowls, traveling all over and making a lot of money. He also cited hatred as a reason walking away from the game will not be that difficult.
Imagine having a job where you’re always on duty, and can never fully relax or you just may drown. Having to fight through waves and currents of praise and criticism, but mostly hate. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been called a ‘dumb nigger’. There is a bold coarseness you receive from non-supporters that seems to only exist on the Internet. However, even if you try to avoid these things completely — because I’ve tried — somehow they still reach you. If not first-hand, then through friends and loved ones who take to heart all that they read and hear”
Perhaps the most interesting part of Mendenhall’s explanation came when he spoke about how the game of football has changed. One significant part of that, he says, is the growing popularity of pop culture and fantasy football.