'He Had to Catch Balls from a Racist QB': Ben Roethlisberger Accused of Racism by Former Steelers RB, Who Defends Antonio Brown

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has branded Ben Roethlisberger a "racist" during a passionate social media defense of Antonio Brown.

Mendenhall shared the Steelers' locker room with Roethlisberger and Brown for three seasons after the latter was drafted in 2010. In a series of tweets on Thursday morning, he defended the wide receiver, who left Pittsburgh last month in acrimonious circumstances.

Mendenhall first hinted Brown had his reasons for going AWOL during the final week of regular season.

The five-time All-Pro selection missed Pittsburgh's game in Week 16 due to what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin described as a "lack of communication."

The original tweet was immediately met by responses asking the former Steelers running back—who was himself suspended for not showing up to a game in December 2012—to elaborate on his theory.

Mendenhall replied suggesting Brown quit because he had grown tired of dealing with Roethlisberger's "racist" attitude. The 31-year-old, who currently works as a writer and story editor for the HBO sports comedy Ballers, added every "honest player" was allegedly aware of Roethlisberger's approach and that Brown had every right to walk out, instead of "taking his lickings like a slave."

The former running back, who played alongside the quarterback from 2008 to 2012, then retracted the statement in spectacular fashion a few hours later.

In a follow-up tweet, Mendenhall claimed his former teammate wasn't in fact racist at all and that he had simply used the example to illustrate how sports needed a balanced dialogue.

Before backpedaling on his claims, Mendenhall had conceded that Brown had to shoulder a portion of the blame for the way his Steelers' career came to an end.

However, he also pointed out those claiming the wide receiver was simply behaving like a diva were ignoring his commitment to Pittsburgh over the last nine seasons.

Since he entered the league in 2010, Brown has developed into a bona fide star in Pennsylvania.

The Central Michigan alum has recorded six consecutive seasons with at least 100 catches and has broken the 1,000 receiving yards threshold in all but two seasons.

In 15 games for the Steelers last season, Brown recorded 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns

Earlier this week, Brown was involved in a Twitter spat with former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Brown pinned Pittsburgh's failure to make the playoffs this season on his former teammate's fumble against the New Orleans Saints, in a game which the Steelers lost 31-28.

On Tuesday, however, Brown appeared to draw a line in the sand, suggesting he was focusing on the new season and was not going to give the media more reasons to write negative stories about him.

'He Had to Catch Balls from a Racist QB': Ben Roethlisberger Accused of Racism by Former Steelers RB, Who Defends Antonio Brown | Sports