PDA

View Full Version : Mendenhall files suit against former sponsor, Champion



BlitzburghRockCity
07-19-2011, 11:33 AM
Mendenhall files suit vs. ex-sponsor


In a case that weaves together issues of free speech, professional sports endorsements and the ever-growing use of social media, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall filed a federal lawsuit Monday against one of his former sponsors.
Mendenhall was hired as an endorser for Champion brand sports apparel in 2008. However, his contract was terminated by Champion's parent company, Hanesbrands Inc., in May after he made controversial comments on Twitter regarding the death of Osama bin Laden and the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

He is seeking more than $1 million in damages as part of his breach of contract lawsuit filed in Winston-Salem, N.C., home of Hanesbrands. A spokesman could not be reached for comment.

According to the complaint, Mendenhall began using Twitter in January 2010.
Before his comments of May 2 -- the day after it was announced that bin Laden had been killed by American military personnel -- he claims Hanesbrands never cared about his posts.

"He said lots of things on lots of subjects and Hanes never had a problem with any of them," said Mendenhall's attorney, Steven J. Thompson, in Chicago.
Among the controversial topics Mendenhall previously addressed, he tweeted about Islam, compared the NFL labor situation to modern-day slavery and called women "selfish."

But it was when he posted about bin Laden's death that Hanes responded.
"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they never even heard speak. We've only heard one side ..." he wrote. "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Two days later, Mendenhall linked to a more lengthy explanation of his comments and what he meant by them.

He said they were in response to spontaneous celebrations he saw on television after bin Laden's death was announced.

"He found that, as many Americans did, to be unseemly and inappropriate," Thompson said.

On May 5, Hanes terminated its agreement with Mendenhall.
In a statement released to espn.com May 6, the company said it strongly disagreed with his comments and that they were "inconsistent" with its values.
"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."

Thompson doesn't believe his client regrets the comments, though he does regret how they were twisted and blown out of proportion by the media.

"In this age of widespread social media, Rashard believes this is an important question for all athletes who serve as celebrity spokespersons, and he is pursuing this lawsuit to vindicate his rights and those of other athletes caught in this situation," Thompson said.

The lawsuit will hinge on the reasonableness of the company's decision to terminate Mendenhall's contract, his lawyer said.

"It can be determined by their conduct in dealing with Rashard's comments on other topics and their conduct in dealing with other celebrity endorsers," Thompson said.
Hanes previously used Charlie Sheen as a spokesman, hiring him in 2008 -- two years after he became vocal about a 9/11 conspiracy.

It was only after Sheen's arrest in a domestic dispute at Christmas 2009 that the company terminated its contract with him.

From the PG (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11200/1161332-66-0.stm#ixzz1SZ880Xe7)

LatrobePA
07-19-2011, 11:54 AM
Sounds to me they did him wrong and he should sue..

DIESELMAN
07-19-2011, 12:18 PM
He should probably read the fine print in that contract, I'm sure somewhere in there it will say, we can terminate this contract without any reason at all. These athletes get these sponsors without realizing, there's a certain responsibility that comes with it. Mendenhall and a lot of other athletes should stick to what they know and leave the real world stuff to the rest of us.


Sent from my iPhone 3GS using Tapatalk

Rampage
07-19-2011, 12:41 PM
Funny how this could have been avoided had he not spewed stupidity all over his Twitter page. Maybe he should forget about the lawsuit and consider it a learning experience.

K Train
07-19-2011, 12:57 PM
he most likely will win this, he should stop spewing garbage though...just keep it to yourself

Koopa
07-19-2011, 01:36 PM
He should probably read the fine print in that contract, I'm sure somewhere in there it will say, we can terminate this contract without any reason at all. These athletes get these sponsors without realizing, there's a certain responsibility that comes with it. Mendenhall and a lot of other athletes should stick to what they know and leave the real world stuff to the rest of us.


Sent from my iPhone 3GS using Tapatalk

that's not fair, just because he's a professional athlete shouldn't mean he can't have an opinion, football is a job just like any other job. he should be allowed to say whatever he wants, sure it was stupid of him to say but i'm sure he isn't the only one to feel that way and i'm sure he wasn't the only one to post something like that. just because he's gets paid millions to run with a ball doesn't mean he can't worry about "real world stuff" like the rest of us

BlitzburghRockCity
07-19-2011, 01:50 PM
These sponsors don't like being associated with people that stir the pot. They're quick to disassociate themselves with anyone that does anything controversial. Ben saw that first hand during his problems Nevada and Georgia.

He's entitled to his opinion just like anyone else, but given his high profile in society they live by a different set of rules, sometimes unfortunately so.

I would tend to agree with K train that he will probably win his lawsuit if he follows through with it but either way he and champion most likely won't do business again.

DIESELMAN
07-19-2011, 01:59 PM
that's not fair, just because he's a professional athlete shouldn't mean he can't have an opinion, football is a job just like any other job. he should be allowed to say whatever he wants, sure it was stupid of him to say but i'm sure he isn't the only one to feel that way and i'm sure he wasn't the only one to post something like that. just because he's gets paid millions to run with a ball doesn't mean he can't worry about "real world stuff" like the rest of us

Your right Koop, but for the most part, athletes, actors, people who make millions of dollars, don't have a lick of sense when it comes to "real world" stuff. It's one thing to have different opinions but it's something totally different when a lot of what they say leaves you wondering.....WTF???? (not necessarily Mendenhall, just celebrities in general).


Sent from my iPhone 3GS using Tapatalk

Rampage
07-19-2011, 03:05 PM
that's not fair, just because he's a professional athlete shouldn't mean he can't have an opinion, football is a job just like any other job. he should be allowed to say whatever he wants, sure it was stupid of him to say but i'm sure he isn't the only one to feel that way and i'm sure he wasn't the only one to post something like that. just because he's gets paid millions to run with a ball doesn't mean he can't worry about "real world stuff" like the rest of us

I think the idea of Champion severing ties is fair. A professional athlete like Mendenhall is given endorsements from brands such as Champion due to the fact that these brands think that his being on board will result in a greater reputation for the brand and, in turn, a higher volume of sales. Whenever he says something slightly inflammatory, his association with the brand is no longer beneficial and can sometimes be considered detrimental. Champion didn't force Mendenhall to say anything; he made that decision on his own. Why should Champion now be forced to continue an endorsement deal that may no longer enhance the company's reputation? Perhaps Mendenhall should realize that he isn't an anonymous nine to five cubicle dweller; he is a well known player on an NFL team and what he says is going to be dissected by everyone. He may have opinions, but he should weigh the value of Twitter versus endorsement deals. Maybe put that free college education to use while he analyzes everything.

BlitzburghRockCity
07-19-2011, 04:29 PM
It's a tough lesson to learn but in the social networking world that we live in things travel faster than ever before. One slip up and you end up in a world of trouble. You can barely say anything in the presence of your friends half the time without it going public on Twitter and FB; let alone to 10s of thousands complete strangers who don't know your intentions from Adam. Even if your joking things can get out of hand quickly.

Mendenhall wasn't joking when he made his comments about Bin Laden, even if they were taken out of context. Just goes to show that it's better to keep your mouth shut from time to time.

LarryNJ
07-19-2011, 05:01 PM
Why do you guys think he will win? I have no idea who his attorney is but I'd guess this isn't the first time Champion has been through this and I'm sure their attorneys will be prepared. Champion has every right to launch his ***. He was being paid to sell products, making stupid comments like that didn't sell a thing so he shouldn't be paid. Many celebrity's lose their deals after doing stupid things. Champion may even have been looking for a reason to launch him, because really outside of Pittsburgh does anyone even care about Mendy? He's not exactly Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson.

steelersbabex25
07-19-2011, 05:21 PM
So at the end of the day, if he wins this case then he'll be getting paid a million dollars for posting something stupid and controversial on his Twitter page?

When will celebrities realize if you keep your thoughts to yourself you won't have this problem. You can have an opinion, just don't go posting it on your social networking sites for everyone in the world to see. It's probably not that insightful and eye-opening anyway.

LarryNJ
07-19-2011, 06:07 PM
It's probably not that insightful and eye-opening anyway.

:lol: Absolutely!

Speeed
07-19-2011, 07:03 PM
Yes, he should be allowed to voice his opinion, that is his Constitutional right. However, it is not his Constitutional right to have a million dollar contract. Which, in accordance with established law, can be terminated by the contractor at any time for any reason.

He will lose his suit. I can't fault companies for this. This does not mean they agree or disagree with his views, it only means they want to preserve their neutral business status. If you owned the company, or had substantial stake in it, what you would do? I would say see ya Mendy.


that's not fair, just because he's a professional athlete shouldn't mean he can't have an opinion, football is a job just like any other job. he should be allowed to say whatever he wants, sure it was stupid of him to say but i'm sure he isn't the only one to feel that way and i'm sure he wasn't the only one to post something like that. just because he's gets paid millions to run with a ball doesn't mean he can't worry about "real world stuff" like the rest of us

steelersbabex25
07-19-2011, 07:12 PM
that's not fair, just because he's a professional athlete shouldn't mean he can't have an opinion, football is a job just like any other job. he should be allowed to say whatever he wants, sure it was stupid of him to say but i'm sure he isn't the only one to feel that way and i'm sure he wasn't the only one to post something like that. just because he's gets paid millions to run with a ball doesn't mean he can't worry about "real world stuff" like the rest of us

I'm working with kids at a summmer camp right now, and I sure as hell have plenty of opinions about my campers, whether it be good or bad. Just because I have opinions doesn't mean that I can go online and say what I think about each of them. In fact, I would get fired for doing just that because it's part of my contract not to post anything about my kids online or anywhere else, because I represent the camp. His job is to represent Champion, and by posting something that was obviously very controversial, I'm sure he was going against his contract. They have every right to do what they did.

This is "real world stuff" at it's finest. You do something stupid, you get fired, just like the rest of the working world.

Koopa
07-20-2011, 02:34 AM
I think the idea of Champion severing ties is fair. A professional athlete like Mendenhall is given endorsements from brands such as Champion due to the fact that these brands think that his being on board will result in a greater reputation for the brand and, in turn, a higher volume of sales. Whenever he says something slightly inflammatory, his association with the brand is no longer beneficial and can sometimes be considered detrimental. Champion didn't force Mendenhall to say anything; he made that decision on his own. Why should Champion now be forced to continue an endorsement deal that may no longer enhance the company's reputation? Perhaps Mendenhall should realize that he isn't an anonymous nine to five cubicle dweller; he is a well known player on an NFL team and what he says is going to be dissected by everyone. He may have opinions, but he should weigh the value of Twitter versus endorsement deals. Maybe put that free college education to use while he analyzes everything.

my "not fair" comment was more directed at diesel saying celebrities should leave the "real world" stuff to us..... i understand why champion dropped him

Koopa
07-20-2011, 02:39 AM
I'm working with kids at a summmer camp right now, and I sure as hell have plenty of opinions about my campers, whether it be good or bad. Just because I have opinions doesn't mean that I can go online and say what I think about each of them. In fact, I would get fired for doing just that because it's part of my contract not to post anything about my kids online or anywhere else, because I represent the camp. His job is to represent Champion, and by posting something that was obviously very controversial, I'm sure he was going against his contract. They have every right to do what they did.

This is "real world stuff" at it's finest. You do something stupid, you get fired, just like the rest of the working world.

well i completely understand why he was was let go from his contract, i just don't think it's fair that just because someone makes millions they shouldn't be allowed to voice their opinion, which is my original point, i'm not backing him in this pointless law suit..... just because some people were born with talents that make them millions doesn't mean they aren't in the real world, it's not their fault us regular people pay their bills by going to the games, watching movies, buying merch....... and also i'm lucky as a manager at walgreens i can talk all the **** i want online about coworkers and i can't be touched lol

steelersbabex25
07-20-2011, 07:35 AM
well i completely understand why he was was let go from his contract, i just don't think it's fair that just because someone makes millions they shouldn't be allowed to voice their opinion, which is my original point, i'm not backing him in this pointless law suit..... just because some people were born with talents that make them millions doesn't mean they aren't in the real world, it's not their fault us regular people pay their bills by going to the games, watching movies, buying merch....... and also i'm lucky as a manager at walgreens i can talk all the **** i want online about coworkers and i can't be touched lol

It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that he's making millions. That's kind of my point. It's just that nobody can say stupid things online without facing the consequences. Now he has to face them.

LarryNJ
07-20-2011, 09:52 AM
also i'm lucky as a manager at walgreens i can talk all the **** i want online about coworkers and i can't be touched lol

Don't be so sure! :lol:

A couple a years ago the Eagles fired an employee because of a Facebook post. In my mind this was totally ridiculous and a way overboard reaction from the Eagles. But it's the real world.


A Facebook post criticizing his employer, the Philadelphia Eagles, cost a stadium operations worker his job, according to a story in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dan Leone, who the Inquirer said worked as a west gate chief, was unhappy the team let Brian Dawkins sign with the Denver Broncos in free agency. According to the newspaper, Leone posted the following on his Facebook page: "Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver ... Dam Eagles R Retarted!!"

Despite deleting the comment, Leone told the Inquirer the Eagles fired him by phone days later.

"I shouldn't have put it up there," Leone said, according to the Inquirer. "I was ticked off, and I let my emotions go, but I didn't offend any one person or target a specific individual. I was just upset that we lost such a great guy. Dawkins was one of my favorite players. I made a mistake."

Leone said he was shocked to lose his job of six years.

"I apologized for it," Leone said, according to the paper. "I apologized 20 million times. I never bad-mouthed the organization before. I made one mistake and they terminate me? And they couldn't even bring me into the office to talk to me? They had to do it over the phone? At least look me in the eye. To get done dirty like this, I can't believe it. I'm devastated."

The Eagles confirmed that Leone was a part-time staff member, but didn't comment further.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3965039