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Rashard Mendenhall clumsily makes a point about criticism of athletes

Antonio Brown kept a Twitter war going with the Steelers and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mike Florio and Chris Simms believe this situation is getting worse and worse for the Raiders' new receiver.

At a time when current Steelers players are pleading with former Steelers players to leave the current Steelers team alone, one former Steelers player created a stir on Friday morning with an accusation that he made on Twitter -- nearly three hours before explaining that he didn’t really mean it.

Capping a stream of tweets in which former Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall, a first-round pick in 2008 who more recently has served as a writer on HBO’s Ballers, took issue with attacks on former Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Mendenhall blurted out this: “Alright, I’ll end the mystery. . . [Ben Roethlisberger is] racist and [Antonio Brown is] black. He had to catch balls from a racist quarterback. Every honest player knows it, it’s not a big deal. He was just supposed to take his lickings and move on, like a slave for real.”

That tweet was posted at 4:45 a.m., and it stands alone and exists independently in cyberspace. At 7:44 a.m. ET, Mendenhall added this: “Clearly it’s no fun, when EVERYONE’s the accused. . . . Please allow the dialogue in sports to be equal. Why’s it so easy to shoot at one player, but not the other? B’s not racist. Just like AB’s not a dirtbag.”

Basically, Mendenhall didn’t mean that he regards Roethlisberger as racist. But the first tweet has received far more attention than the second tweet, which Mendenhall didn’t add to the original thread. Thus, many will have missed the second tweet, assuming instead that Mendenhall, who spent five years on the same roster with Roethlisberger, believes his former quarterback is racist.