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Illinois Star Who Helped Launch Obama 2012 Tweets in Support of Bin Laden

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says many people gave their lives to get to this point. (Published Monday, May 2, 2011)

    When Barack Obama kicked off his 2012 reelection campaign at Navy Pier in April, he had a cast of Chicago stars at his side.

    Rahm Emanuel was there to whip up the crowd. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were there to add star power. Former University of Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall also came along for the ride.

    Emanuel Reacts to Bin Laden Death

    [CHI] Emanuel Reacts to Bin Laden Death
    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says many people gave their lives to get to this point. (Published Monday, May 2, 2011)

    At least one of those guys isn't exactly happy with the news, weeks later, about Obama's national security triumph in killing Osama bin Laden.

    Mendenhall tweeted Monday that he was disappointed in the exuberant reaction to the news.

    Mendenhall Understands Peterson's Point

    [CHI] Mendenhall Understands Peterson's Point
    Adrian Peterson set off a firestorm of controversy when he called the NFL "modern day slavery." Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall says he sees the parallel, but doesn't quite agree with the sentiment. (Published Thursday, Mar 17, 2011)

    "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side," he tweeted.

    He followed with another message that bordered on the bizarre.

    "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolitions style," he tweeted, apparently referencing a conspiracy theory that the Twin Towers weren't destroyed by Bin Laden.

    He allegedly deleted another tweet that read: "I'm not convinced he was even behind the attacks we have really seen no evidence to prove it other than the gov telling us."

    When Mendenhall received push back on the social media platform, he released this tweet: 

    "There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think."

    Mendenhall, who currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, could not be reached for comment. Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney said on the team's web site that he was baffled by the comments.

    “I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments,” Rooney said in a statement posted at the team’s web site. “The entire Steelers’ organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon.”

    Mendenhall has a history of controversial statements.

    During the run up to the NFL lockout, the running back tweeted that he supported Adrian Peterson in comparing the status of NFL players to that of slaves.

    It's unclear why Obama selected the running back, who lives in Downtown Chicago, to help launch his campaign along with Rose, Rahm and Noah, but there's a good chance he won't be invited to any more events after the tone-deaf comments.