Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Looking beyond bravado

More about Vince Young. I just can't stop banging this point home hard enough. Glad that Carl Little could take up the fight today:

(Young) had a difficult but important decision to make: admit that he was grappling with deep depression, which strikes nearly 17 million American adults each year, or strike a pose and insist that nothing is bothering him. The bravado won out. According to Young, he was never depressed.


Black boys don't cry.

Historically, "we associated mental illness with insanity and horrible shame," said John F. Murray, a clinical and sport performance psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla. Unfortunately, far too many black men remain stuck in the dark ages, still attaching a cultural stigma to depression.

It's not only black men stuck in the dark ages. Consider Neanderthals like Merrill Hoge or Gregg Doyel. But there's not much sympathy - or, to be honest, complex thought - to be found in many NFL locker rooms or board rooms. I remember that Barrett Robbins and Shawn Andrews seemed to receive little to no support during their respective struggles with mental illness.

In the NFL, production is paramount and failure is shameful. If you can't swallow hard and play well, then there's really no use for you. Simple as that.

In that context, I sincerely hope that Young gets the treatment he needs. He could set a much different, more important sort of example by dealing with his troubles than he ever could scoring touchdowns for the Titans.

* As a note, this essay is the handiwork of a good friend. I'm very, very proud today.

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