Rashard Mendenhall Has an Open Mind
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 03, 2012
In the week before his possible return from ACL surgery, Mendenhall contemplates the value of having an open mind in a piece written for the Huffington Post. The entry remains vague on any specific issues; the running back refers to no political associations, religions or backgrounds. Condemning the "me first" attitude he believes our society encourages, Mendenhall proceeds to assert that we surround ourselves with likeminded companions because we are afraid to have our thoughts or beliefs challenged. He espouses the notion that "different" doesn't automatically mean "wrong"; that open-mindedness allows us to engage and learn about the new and unfamiliar:
"The problem with having such a closed mind is that nothing can ever get in! ... When we're not open to learning something new or hearing a different perspective, we can think one thing and actually be dangerously far off."
The automatic assumption could be that this piece is a subtle nod to Mendenhall's infamous Osama bin Laden-9/11 Twitter rant, wherein he expressed disappointment in the joyful response to bin Laden's death and questioned the source of the 9/11 attacks themselves. If Mendenhall had one particular issue in mind while composing this piece, he declined to address it directly. Harping on any one issue would likely have alienated any part of his audience that disagreed with him, which only goes to prove his point. This is, of course, by no means a new or particularly unique outlook. But in an age that has proven sensationalism sells, it's rare to find a public figure using an open forum to discuss basic virtues, such as general tolerance and empathy.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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