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Mendenhall sues dropped sponsor over bin Laden tweets

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 25, 2011 | 8:23 am

After Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall said some really dumb things on Twitter about Osama bin Laden and 9/11 and forgiveness, Champion dropped his endorsement deal. No real surprise there, because any company would have probably rather had Tiger Woods at that moment.

But Mendenhall, maybe getting a little worried about his cash flow due to the lockout, thinks he got a raw deal. And he’s decided to sue Champion’s parent company over the summary termination of his contract.

The Legal Blitz has a great post talking with Benjamin Mulcahy, a partner at Sheppard Mullin, about Mendenhall’s legal claim. An excerpt:

Mendenhall’s attorney says that this is not about the money, but rather about whether Rashard can express his opinion.  When a player signs a “morals clause,” doesn’t he expressly give up the right to express certain opinions?

Yes.  If Rashard expressed his opinion that the brands he was being paid to endorse are low quality, that opinion would violate most morals clauses, even if the opinion is genuinely held.  His tweets are analogous to that.

Read the rest here. My suspicion: this contract claim will really flat.

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