Friday, October 12, 2012

An Open Letter to Rashard Mendenhall

Rashard Mendenhall, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back, is a thinker.  He's not dumb.  Even if sometimes he tries a little too hard he's clearly a learned man.  He's not a mindless jock.  His opinions have gotten him in some warm water in the past.  Last night, after a particularly frustrating loss to the Tennessee Titans, he took to Twitter again:

 Below, an open letter to Rashard explaining why he's wrong.

Dear Rashard,

How are ya man?  How's the Achilles?  I really hope it's okay.  As a Steelers fan we could use you out there.  You're a game changer and that's something the Steelers need right now.  And you know why?  Because otherwise the Steelers just aren't good.

Now according to you this opinion means I'm not a fan.  However I've been through Neil O'Donnell, Bubby Brister, Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, Tommy Maddox, Kent Graham.  I've been through 8-8, 6-10, 15-1, 5-11.  I've been there for YEARS.  I'll be there for years when you're done.  I'm a fan.

I support you, Rashard.  I truly do.  I support every single person on that team.  I want to see you do well.  I want to see you win.  The thing is that the flip side is that when my expectations aren't met (and when the franchise is as successful as the Steelers those expectations are high) I won't just sit back and praise everyone.

Being a fan does mean unconditional love.  It doesn't mean you're above being told when you're doing wrong.  Did your parents just let you skate by because they love you or did they punish you when you screwed up?  Unconditional love is the best kind because it's not blinded by some ideal, it's open to see all of the warts and yet we love you.

True fans will tell you when you're wrong, will tell you when you're not good, will let you know how unhappy they are... and come back next year anyway.  True fans do not blindly think everything you do is the best thing since rainbows and sliced bread.  True fans... they get on your case.

We support you, Rashard.  We also know when we're being fed hamburger when we expect steak.  Right now you guys are hamburger.  Right now the Steelers are not good.  We as fans still love you but we're not pleased.  When you guys finish 7-9 you will hear from us.  But we'll be back next year.  And the year after.  And the year after.

Until you guys get it together and play up to snuff, expect to hear a lot more from true fans.  Play like trash, get treated like trash.  That doesn't make us any less of fans than if we just patted you on the back and said, "Good try bud."

True Fan Nicholas Case
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