Thursday morning began in all too familiar fashion for everyone associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers after another former player became the latest name to inject himself into the Antonio Brown drama.
After a series of tweets defending the motives of the beleaguered wide receiver late on Wednesday night, Rashard Mendenhall returned to the social media platform in the early hours of the morning to accuse Ben Roethlisberger or racism.
Alright, I’ll end the mystery... B’s racist and @AB84’s black. He had to catch balls from a racist quarterback. Every honest player knows it, it’s not a big deal. He was just supposed to take his lickings and move on, like a slave for real. https://t.co/ubI39UDauY— Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) April 11, 2019
This claim was retracted a few hours later, with Mendenhall suggesting he was merely trying to highlight how a false accusations can damage someone’s reputation.
Clearly it’s no fun, when EVERYONE’s the accused...— Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) April 11, 2019
Please allow the dialogue in sports to be equal. Why’s it so easy to shoot at one player, but not the other?
B’s not racist. Just like AB’s not a dirtbag.#letsbefair
But the responses to the former running backs tweets were far from complementary, with many reasonably questioning what Mendenhall had to gain from his remark.
For offensive lineman Ramon Foster, it appears it was something of a breaking point, compelling him to release a public service announcement calling for an end to all the drama and accusations from former players.
PSA. Contact me or @MaurkicePouncey or anyone else that you feel comfortable with about anything else next time. I passed this through a few guys still in the locker room and they are ok with this. pic.twitter.com/4xBpm9JWZH— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) April 11, 2019
“Moving forward ... Any former player of affiliate of the Steelers who has an issue with anyone still in the locker room, please contact me of Maurkice Pouncey or anyone else you feel you can talk to. Whoever you have an issue with, we will get your their number so you can address them. I PROMISE.”
“These media takes might give y’all good traffic on your social media outlets but the guys still in that locker room, who y’all still know personally have to answer for those comments. Call them what you want, but call them personally and tell THEM. Defend who you want to defend but you don’t have to mention the team at all.”
“Whether you have a ring or played for one year ... ENOUGH ... CHILL. Most players at one point in their life want to take their kids back to the place where they once played, don’t burn too many bridges. It’s a long history or brotherhood more than anything, BUSINESS is one thing but let’s keep it at a minimum for the guys who have to answer for those comments going forward.”
Whether names like Josh Harris, Emmanuel Sanders, James Harrison, Le’Veon Bell, Brown and Mendenhall will listen to the veteran lineman remains to be seen, but fans are sure to sympathize with Fosters desire to hear less from his former teammates in public.
The drama that should have ended once Brown and Bell found new homes went past the point of being tedious and unnecessary a long time ago. Now it feels as if we are stuck in a cycle of former players using the controversy simply to promote their own personal agenda. And if that really is the case, it seems likely that Foster’s words could well fall on deaf ears.