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."
Mendenhall

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.
Comments

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:06 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Alot of people here have said that Mendenhall has a right to free speech, but that does not give him the right to say things that are stupid, hurtful, racist, controversial or inflammatory.
I disagree.  I think that's exactly what the founding fathers were trying to do, and I support it.  I also support Champion's dropping him, the Steelers' lack of support for him, and anything else that might happen.  The Constitution gives him the right to say these things, but all that means is he can't be prosecuted for them.  He's still subject to the jury of public opinion, and it has apparently already given its verdict.  Your Honor, we find the defendant....dumb as a box of rocks.



Since: Apr 4, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:01 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

this whole subject is pathetic. i mean this whole subject is PATHETIC!



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:57 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

I disagree with this action.  Champion obviously has the right to pay who ever they like and they have a target audience but I think Rashard has some valid and worth while arguments.
Whether he has "valid and worthwhile arguments" is completely irrelevant.  Champion hires spokespeople to represent their product and values.  Mendenhall doesn't share the same values as the company and is quickly turning himself into such a pariah it would be a horrible business decision to retain him.  While Champion isn't going to hurt by your refusal to buy their products, which you never did before, they could be seriously impacted by any major consumer boycott. 

It makes good sense, and Mendenhall is responsible for it. 



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:56 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Come on you guys.  The towers were obviously brought down by the government.  As a matter of fact, they used the same guys that framed Pete Rose and have helped JFK be in a secret relationship with Elvis all these years.  Plus they released bigfoot into the wild from his holding cell in area 51 and arranged for the guy who did the Texas bell tower shooting to assist the unibomber.  How can anyone not know this?  These things are clearly facts.  I am moving to Malaysia where the government cares about its citizens.  I can pay your way if you want to come with me.  Meet me there and I will reimburse you.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:49 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

champion is racist
You couldn't possibly stupider.



Since: Mar 7, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:23 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Insensitive in an understatement.  My second grade daughter has a boy in his class that had a few break downs (crying).  His father is in the military in Iraq.  The stress he goes through is very real.  For someone like Reshard to make the comments he did just so he can achieve some level of attention makes him the kind of person people like least.  He is painfully undereducated and out of touch.  
It's true you are free in the country to speak whatever is on your mind.  However, your employer can fire you for saying or posting views that are not in line with the company's.  The Steelers continue to look the other way when players get in trouble.  Why?  Because those players might help them to win a Super Bowl.  And like most of the NFL, values mean nothing.  But this time, there will be a stain that will not be forgotten.  If the Steelers don't cut this guy, it will be a stain to remind everyone that there are simply no values in the NFL and certainly not the Steelers' organization.  
So what's it really about.  Try moral values.  Which are completely absent in the NFL.  Look at all the thug and criminals in the NFL.  If they had kicked Ben, Mick, and Pacman out of football for life, these guys would have been more accountable.  But the facts are that you can say or commit any crimes you want and the NFL will NEVER kick you out  Goodell  made one big fat lie about cleaning up the NFL and restoring values.  Does it sound like anything has changed for the better?



Since: Mar 7, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:21 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Insensitive in an understatement.  My second grade daughter has a boy in his class that had a few break downs (crying).  His father is in the military in Iraq.  The stress he goes through is very real.  For someone like Reshard to make the comments he did just so he can achieve some level of attention makes him the kind of person people like least.  He is painfully undereducated and out of touch.  
It's true you are free in the country to speak whatever is on your mind.  However, your employer can fire you for saying or posting views that are not in line with the company's.  The Steelers continue to look the other way when players get in trouble.  Why?  Because those players might help them to win a Super Bowl.  And like most of the NFL, values mean nothing.  But this time, there will be a stain that will not be forgotten.  If the Steelers don't cut this guy, it will be a stain to remind everyone that there are simply no values in the NFL and certainly not the Steelers' organization.  
So what's it really about.  Try moral values.  Which are completely absent in the NFL.  Look at all the thug and criminals in the NFL.  If they had kicked Ben, Mick, and Pacman out of football for life, these guys would have been more accountable.  But the facts are that you can say or commit any crimes you want and the NFL will NEVER kick you out  Goodell  made one big fat lie about cleaning up the NFL and restoring values.  Does it sound like anything has changed for the better?  



Since: May 8, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:33 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

It's business. If a spokesman for a company says or does something to causes that company to lose revenue. they can be fired. Just like if Champion was doing something illegal, Mandenhall would have every right to quit. It's business.



Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:23 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

" and the extremists want a fatwa calling for his

  Considering all the intelligent satement you made later in the post, what extremist are you taking about here.  Dont be ignorant it takes away from your credibility!

Agreed-a poorly conceived attempt at dichotomy. Still think Mendy shoulda picked another topic, though, lol.

P.S. From Mr. 1056's dictionary: Liberal (Rep., N,)-Anyone who doesn't share HIS beliefs on any subject.




Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:09 am
 

Champion fires Rashard Mendenhall as endorser

Agreed-a poorly conceived attempt at dichotomy. Still think Mendy shoulda picked another topic, though, lol.


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