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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.

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Since: Feb 14, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:06 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

i didnt even know champion was still in business they closed down all the champion stores here like 15 years ago .

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:50 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Of course he is entitled to his opinion, can anybody find a single comment that would imply otherwise? The problem is that his opinion is rediculous and completely out of touch with reality. All of you guys who are acting like this is censorship need to re-read the Constitution, assuming you have read it at all.

Champion is well within their rights to employ whom they wish to endorse their products. How is this difficult?

If it makes you feel better, Al Qaeda is in desperate need of a new spokesman.... I'm sure they would be willing to give Mendy a shot.

Seriously, Americans dont need a self righteous wannabe lecturing us about morality.... If we wanted an untraveled tool with a lackluster education to lecture us about morality or politics, we would tune into Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:33 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Whatever it is that Champion sells I won't be buying.  I am completely with Rasherd and his right to a disenting opinion, partly because thats what we do in a democracy and partly because I think his point might just have some validity. Touche.

Since: Jun 15, 2010
Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:06 pm

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

I think Champion should have stayed the hell out of it . Its like cutting your nose off to spite your face. Free pub. He spoke his mind so what noone backed him so what he still wakes up in the morning to see himself noone else not you not me himself .Who are you people to say whether he was wrong or right? its an opinion everyone has one but he happens to be a football player. I commend him for doing what he did more athletes should raise thier awareness about whats going on in America and abroad. We as Americans have that right.Champion has not had a marketable brand in yrs I thought they went out of business if you ask me Rashard had a great yr last yr and the bottom line is this is a what have you done for me lately league if we have a season this yr he will have another great season barring injury and will get paid more money from one of the bigger companies.  I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and the Steelers are my hated rivals but I know a good player on the verge of greatness when I see it and this kid will breakut this yr in a big way good luck Rashard.

Since: May 20, 2009
Posted on: May 8, 2011 10:52 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Ironic he gets fired from doing an endorsement, because the only time this idiot should speak is when he is being told what to say.

Since: Mar 1, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2011 8:56 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Hey Hawkman:  This is a company that sells products. The endorser of those products needs to be liked by the buyers of those products.  As a result of what RM said many Americans will not buy Champion products if they continue to have him endorse thier products.   Good corporate move.  If RM was so smart he would know that what he says CAN affect his ability to endorse products.  This is true in any business situation, not just big mouthed sports figures.  Companies cannot have people around that will hurt their business.  So, this was the smart and only move for Champion.  But, hey, RM can still endorse products like the new and improved suicide belt. 

Since: Mar 1, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2011 8:50 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:20 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Whatever happened to his first amendment right.  Just because he's a famous athelete, he's not allowed to speak his mind.  Some people in this country have a lot of nerves.  How can we totaly believe what our military says, when our Government wants the general public to believe that we actualy landed on the Moon.  SMH ask yourself why haven't we been back in all these years.  Makes you say Huuummmmmmm.  I don't agree with what Mendy said, but hey, OUR GoVERNMENT said Osama was the head man in charge.
The freaks come out at night.....

Learn what the First Amendment actually means before making yourself look like an idiot.  Just a suggestion.  Another one?  Lay off delusions about space travel conspiracies.  I don't even know what the rest of your post was even trying to say.  So, I guess another suggestion would be to head down to the your closest Learning Annex and take an English as a Second Language course.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:16 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

This is sad, really.  This young man is wise beyond his years.  It's unfortunate some C-list sporting goods company would do something this ignorant.  Verily, verily, Mendenhall now has far more to gain than Champion.  He's exploded on Twitter, and for good reason.  I guess Champion is simply choosing a side here...opposite the American people.  Yep, it ain't 2004 anymore.  People are mad at these lying crooks called Obama, the white house, and Congress.  Eat your heart out, Corporate America!
Are you actually this dumb, or just nuttier than a Snickers bar?

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:13 am

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Are people actually so stupid to believe that the first admendment protects people from getting fired for saying stupid things?
Thank you!

This whole argument of protection under the First Amendment reminds me of the movie Talladega Nights, where Ricky Bobby thinks he can say anything he wants as long as he says "with all due respect" in there somewhere.

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