Depression? Suicide? In the NFL? Among the manliest, most macho, testosterone-laden athletes on earth? Depression? Suicide? NO WAY!! NOT in the National Football League!!
HA! Try as I might, I have not been able to escape the hoopla surrounding Tennessee Titans quarterback, Vince Young. For those unaware, Young, a former star college QB who led his team to the national championship, and now the starting QB at Tennessee, played poorly a couple Sundays ago and was booed by the hometown fans. To make matters worse, he responded to the booing by "pouting" on the bench and refusing to go back into the game--this is the starting quarterback.
The next day, last Monday, Young's mother phoned the coach, Jeff Fisher, to report she was concerned about her son's mental state. She reported that he had left the house with a gun and without his cell phone. She had no idea where Young was, nor did any of his friends know his whereabouts. Fisher, the coach, called police and alerted them to the emergent situation. A search was begun, at which time this all became quite public. The SWAT team was mobilized, and the local psychiatric hospital was put on alert. The media was abuzz!
Young was eventually found at a local establishment watching Monday Night Football. Fisher and Young said it was "no big deal," and they were sorry things got blown out of proportion. However, the media soon reported that mom, coach, friends, and therapist had been concerned that Young was suicidal.
The therapist apparently told Fisher that Young sounded down and had "mentioned suicide" during a session that day. (Hello? Can you say confidential information??? Do NFL players not have privacy rights?) Fisher, in the midst of the search for Young, relayed this confidential(?) tidbit to the MEDIA! Brilliant! So...far from "no big deal," there obviously was significant concern for Young's safety.
It appears, if Young is to be believed, that this really was an overblown reaction initiated by his worried mother. Unfortunately for Young, he's an NFL football player. Overblown or not, once this circus began there was no possibility his casual reaction would bring it to a stop. Suicide, depression, poor performance--all too juicy for the media to abandon.
I cringed. From the moment of the first reports, my heart sank. "Here we go again," I thought. Being a fan of the macho sports, I've listened to my fair share of macho men analyze, critique, and postulate about every facet of every game. Now they had something new to sink their teeth into, something they clearly knew absolutely nothing about. But while the sports commentators had to maintain at least a modicum of political correctness, I knew fans (sometimes better described as idiots) would be held to no such standard. Vince was about to get bashed, and bashed he did get.
It wasn't until today, in preparation for writing this post that I actually looked at some of the sports page message boards. I could leave you with tons, but I've chosen just one recent retort. I think this one succinctly sums up the lack of knowledge of and the stigma surrounding mental illness in America:
Wow Titan fans....it must really suuuuck to have to debate on whether a washed-up has-been achoholic that's been rejected by almost every team in the league, OR a psycho headcase that NEVER WAS should be your QB!
If people in Tennessee had any brains or common sense (what and I am thinking to even say that!), they would've drafted their homeboy Jay Cutler instead of Psycho Young!---comment courtesy of MSN member, ElwayTheGreat.
Thanks, dude, for your insightful, compassionate summary of Kerry Collins (the "washed-up has-been alcoholic), Vince Young, and the current situation in Tennessee.