Blog Entry

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Posted on: May 5, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 11:22 am
R. Mendenhall (US Presswire)Posted by Will Brinson

In case you hadn't heard, Steelers' RB Rashard Mendenhall did some tweeting recently about Osama Bin Laden. It did NOT go over well with the general public. And it apparently didn't go over well with athletic wear company Champion, who fired Mendenhall on Thursday.

Mendenhall inked a post on his site attempting to explain his Twitter burst, but clearly that wasn't enough, as the company, who's paid Mendenhall to endorse their products, decided that Mendenhall's tweets were "inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand." So, they fired him.

"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," Champion spokesman told told Michael McCarthy of USA Today"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."

It's not surprising at all to see Champion -- whose logo is colored red, white and blue, by the way -- pull this move from a public relations standpoint, as Mendenhall's comments alienated many a fan. But it is interesting from the perspective of how a brand, an endorser and a demographic interact.

For instance, here's an example of something similar from another form of popular culture: the Dixie Chicks, once upon an election or two ago, decided to speak out against George W. Bush. Because they are a country music band who caters to a particular, shall we say "more American" demographic, overcoming that sort of statement in public was nearly impossible. (Conversely, Green Day, a rock band whose listeners tend to be more liberal, can write an entire song ripping Bush, and the only consequence is that they sell more records.)

I'm not saying that Champion is a country band, but I do think that it's substantially more difficult for Champion to overcome a slew of average, everyday Americans refusing to buy their brand because they endorse Mendenhall.

And, of course, there's the fact that Mendenhall isn't exactly Tiger Woods, whose value as an endorser holds greater weight.

Look, Mendenhall didn't do anything wrong, he just did something stupid. Athletes -- and everyone -- today simply have to understand that using Twitter is just like being a at a press conference. While Twitter and Facebook and all forms of social media are a fascinating and fun way for athletes to communicate with fans and media alike, it's also a part of an individual's brand.

And as we've seen countless times, you don't need to break any laws to ruin your image in this country.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:48 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Maybe the Beef Jerky company that dumped Ben last year would sign him.

Since: Jan 7, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:04 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

without a boubt one of the ugliest people I have ever seen in my life . A real spook . . . . why ( if u have not noticed ) does every face shot / still shot of reashaards face look post mordem ? Seriously , scroll up have look , every head shot . . . . dead .

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:43 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Who knew Mendenhall endorsed Champion?

Mendenhall's comments were a stroke of marketing luck for Champion. Firing Mendenhall will save the company his endorsement fee and more than likely spike far more sales for Champion than Mendenhall's endorsement ever did.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:09 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

good. im a steelers fan but mendenhall is a complete dumbass....first he compares making millions in the nfl to slavery which is a complete insult to all the black people in america whos ancestors were slaves (probably his own).....then he basically spits in americas face by saying who even knows if Osama was behind 9/11.... uhhh he took credit for it jackass I for one was happy when I heard the news quite honestly Osama got more from us then he deserved I personally wouldve rather seen his head placed on a stake and mounted on top of the statue of liberty but hey thats just me. (I also have friends serving in the military one of which was killed in action so I take this extra personal)
Hopefully mendy will just keep his mouth shut from now on, your a pro athlete everything you do is under a microscope and if any of you saw Rooneys reaction to this comment he looked pissed mendy better shape up!

Since: Feb 5, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:03 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

you missed the point of the author bringing in Tiger Woods.  He wasn't in any way talking about Woods' image or his actions.  He was making the point that as an endorsement figure just abount everyone knows the name Tiger Woods.  When the name Rashard Mendenhall came up most people were probably left scratching their heads.  So in Champion cutting loose Mendenhall probably isn't that big of a deal because he isn't well ln known,  where deciding to cut loose a name like Woods is an entirely different calculation.

Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:18 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

I think it is interesting that the author used Tiger Woods as a crystal clean endorsement icon.  He lost some endorsements a couple of years ago for something he did in his private life.  How quickly people forget.  I feel it is a company's absolute right to cancel a business deal with someone who is representing them.  It is really kind of foolish for them to continue ties with someone who will cost you money.  Does anyone here really think that what Rashard Mendenhall did will help sell their product?  I saw a comment that that was cowardly.  Really?  Champion made a business decision and handled it quite professionally.  This deal has nothing to do with his football contract.  They have every right.  Are they supposed to "have his back"?  That is such a childish way to look at things. 
By the way, they even stated they respect his right to free speech.  He can represent himself, just not them.  They disagree, time to move on.

Since: May 29, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:02 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

To GoRomoGo,
; Yeah, that's what they are saying.  Champion wants to quash all their spokesman's first amendment rights.  Your an idiot.  So I suppose if, oh, let's say Peyton Manning comes out and says that he loved Osama, and he loves the Taliban and condems the U.S. for the all the "atrocities" we've committed against the Arab world then all the companies he represents should just throw their arms in the air and say, "well that's his right".  Even though his "opinion" is going to cost our company millions in lost revenue due to people boycotting his stuff and the stuff he represents, we should go down with him since it's his first amendment right to say what he wants to say.  Well, it's the companies right to dump whatever knucklehead is going to cost them money.  Mendenhall, as a person, is a tool.  I still think he is a good back and will cheer for him to help my favorite team win, but I will not shed a tear if the Rooney's can his ass.  And I certainly won't be purchasing anything he endorses.  I kinda just proved my own point with that statement.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:15 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

GOROMOGO-----Yes you're correct mendenhall has the right to express his opinions but so does Champion.  Great move Champion.  I will favor your clothing next time I'm at the store.  Steelers should follow

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:00 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Good for Champion and I will go by some of their products.  We need more companies to be pro American and pro United States of America.

Rashard Mendenhall is still free to say what ever he wants. He is just not going to be paid by Champion to represent Champion because Champion is free to disagree with Mendenhall's comments.

I personally think Mendenhall's comments and ideas are stupid and ridiculous.

I hope Champion would never let someone represent them that would not face the Flag and place their hand over their heart during the National Anthem.  You know like our piece of crop President Barack Obama.

Since: May 2, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:40 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Uh....Rashard... Remember that contract you signed which said "don't say anything stupid or act like an idiot" and you'll get paid.   Well guess who's not getting paid.  LOL!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or