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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Players need to be more careful on Twitter

By James Walker

Here is the most dangerous thing about Twitter: It allows us to say the first thing that comes to mind.

Rashard Mendenhall
Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall created a stir with his tweets about Osama bin Laden's death.
There are times when that's not the best idea. And with Twitter there is no filter, no editor, and no one there to stop us to think about the repercussions.

Twitter often can be a direct bridge to the brain if the owner of the account doesn't exercise restraint. We've seen many cases of that in the past year, and Pittsburgh Steelers tailback Rashard Mendenhall is the latest example.

Mendenhall is getting a lot of heat for his controversial tweets on the death of Osama bin Laden. It caused so much of a stir nationally that the Steelers issued a statement Tuesday, basically saying they don't share the views of their leading rusher.

This is not a political blog or a conspiracy theorist blog. So we're not going to debate the merit of Mendenhall's comments. But as the star running back of one of the most popular teams in professional sports, Mendenhall should use more discretion with his tweets. There are plenty of other ways to debate controversial subjects in a less public forum.

I've interviewed Mendenhall many times, and in my experience, he's often careful about his word choice. Mendenhall is an intelligent person, soft-spoken and rarely says more than what's necessary.

But there is something about typing into a computer or cell phone that makes some athletes say things they normally would not in an interview.

Just like anyone else, Mendenhall has every right to his opinions. But with his public position, Mendenhall and other players should be more careful with how they represent their employers.