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SBD/July 19, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
Rashard Mendenhall Sues Hanesbrands Over Terminated Endorsement Deal
Published July 19, 2011
CAN MENDENHALL PROVE HIS CASE? Mendenhall's attorney, Steven Thompson, said that the lawsuit "will hinge on the reasonableness of the company's decision to terminate Mendenhall's contract." Mendenhall claims that Hanesbrands "never cared about his posts" on Twitter "before his comments of May 2 -- the day after it was announced that bin Laden had been killed by American military personnel." Thompson said, "He said lots of things on lots of subjects and Hanes never had a problem with any of them." In Pittsburgh, Paula Reed Ward notes among the "controversial topics Mendenhall previously addressed, he tweeted about Islam, compared the NFL labor situation to modern-day slavery and called women 'selfish'" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/19). CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson wrote, "The problem here for Mendenhall is that because he's dealing with an issue like 9/11, he'll have an uphill battle to prove that the majority of the consuming public wasn't offended by his comments, particularly given the storm of media coverage it generated. ... Perhaps the biggest problem is the resulting image hit that Mendenhall could suffer. Even though he's defending a basic American tenant -- free speech -- he's going to remind everyone in the country exactly why he got fired in the first place; it's unlikely that the general public's stance has changed on his statements since then" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/18).