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Ex-Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall Defends Kanye West’s Antisemitic Statements



Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is coming to the defense of rapper Kanye West after West made multiple antisemitic comments during a podcast appearance on Thursday.

West appeared on the right-wing program Info Wars with host Alex Jones on Thursday, making antisemitic claims about the global influence of Jewish people and praising Nazis.

“The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world,” West said. “I see good things about Hitler, also. … I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”

The comments were the latest in a string of antisemitic and otherwise offensive comments by West, which has cost him business deals with Adidas and Balenciaga, among others.

The social media reaction to West’s comments on Thursday was overwhelmingly negative. Black news outlet The Root posted a story with the headline “Kanye West Can’t Help But Say More Stupid Sh*t.” Mendenhall retweeted the post and defended West.

“Are y’all negroes black or not? … May times with your choice/position, I can’t tell. #FreeSpeech #FreeYe #BeenFree”

Mendenhall, who refers to himself on social media as a “free speech absolutist” has made headlines for defending the disliked in the past.

In 2011, while he was still playing with the Steelers, Mendenhall criticized the celebratory reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden and supported conspiracy theories surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In 2019, Mendenhall called Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a racist after Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown had a public falling out. Mendenhall later walked back that remark.

The Steelers’ first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Mendenhall played five seasons for the team. He was part of the Super Bowl XLIII winning squad as a rookie in 2008, though he was injured for the game. Mendenhall and the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl after the 2010 season, but his fourth-quarter fumble loomed large in the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Mendenhall was deactivated and then suspended by the Steelers for one game toward the end of the 2012 for failing to show up to a game. He signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2013 season and then retired from football in 2014.

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