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Tribal Warfare
09-13-2008, 11:54 PM
Titans’ Young wasn’t prepared to handle NFL life (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/football/story/795938.html)
By JASON WHITLOCK
The Kansas City Star

On the surface, it sounds impossible to believe. One of the NFL’s brightest and richest young stars told a therapist he had thoughts of suicide and then disappeared in his car with a gun.

Vince Young, the quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, the hero of Texas’ national-title victory over USC, doesn’t seem like a candidate for depression.

And if you believe Young and his head coach, Jeff Fisher, Young doesn’t have any emotional issues. What transpired in the wake of Young’s poor performance in Tennessee’s season opener, according to Fisher and Young, has been greatly overblown by the evil and sensational media.

Yes, when Fisher asked the police to find his distraught quarterback on Monday, and Young’s mother later said her baby boy needs a lot of love and support, and the Nashville police reported that Young’s team therapist warned that Young mentioned thoughts of suicide, it was just us in the media who made something out of nothing to sell newspapers and drive ratings.

Jeff Fisher just might be Karl Rove, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Titans are currently scouring the Great North in search of a lipsticked Miss Alaska to quarterback the Titans the rest of the season. The Titans desperately want a distraction to take the focus off the real issue — Vince Young’s shaky mental state.

Look, I’m no big fan of the “media.” We screw some things up and let our biases dictate coverage from time to time. But we’ve made no mistake when it comes to Vince Young. There’s a big story here, a story much bigger than any individual player.

Young and many professional athletes have not been properly prepared to handle the stress and pressure that accompanies fame, fortune and life under constant scrutiny. Depression is a major issue in professional sports. It’s the reason drugs, alcohol and bizarre behavior are staples of professional sports.

Depression’s No. 1 friend is denial. Fisher, Young and denial are all madly in love and resting uncomfortably in Nashville.

Vince Young should not be ashamed that he might be battling depression. Almost all of us go through it at some point in our lives and/or careers.

Here’s a little personal confession before I get back on point: When I got suspended from The Star for two weeks in 1998 and my peers in the media were laughing at my stupidity, I rarely got out of bed for those two weeks. I was mad and embarrassed and hurt and scared. Being a successful newspaper columnist was the No. 1 priority in my life, and I thought I’d blown it.

Man, was I depressed. But I was also determined when the two weeks were up. Whitlocks don’t die. We multiply. I fell back on all the life lessons my mother and father taught me the previous 29 years.

I hope someone taught Vince Young something the previous 25 years. He reminds me of too many young athletes who have been unintentionally prepared for how to mishandle athletic success.

People have been slow to recognize how much money has changed the games we play in positive and negative ways. The influx of cash has put 22s on everybody’s cars and increased the pressure on players 20-fold.

Vince Young is far from the only superstar and/or mediocre professional athlete who has contemplated suicide. Showing great athletic talent as a kid can be a curse, no different from landing a big role as a child actor. It’s a recipe for self-destruction.

Could you imagine being 16 or 17 and having grown-ups counting on you to make it so that they can make it? Could you imagine the pressure of being a kid and being counted on to be the “man” of your family?

In America, too many of us think family structure is irrelevant. We’ve sold the myth that a single parent can do the job of two parents. No question, some single parents do awesome jobs. But it’s a statistical and realistic fact that two parents working in concert are more effective than one parent trying to do it all. The biggest lie America tells is that you can do it all and have it all by yourself.

You can’t. No one makes it in this world without lots of good support and attentive guidance along the way.

The weight of performance pressure, the media and fan attention and the inappropriate/premature pressure to be the provider at home to an immediate and extended family are crushing many young professional athletes the same way child stars get buried. Britney Spears and Vince Young could probably talk for hours.

The NFL is filled with players from broken and/or dysfunctional homes. Many of the players are emotionally broken, too, and may not even know it. And I’m not saying every kid from a two-parent house is perfectly adjusted. They are not.

What I’m saying is that we should not be surprised that Young may be unhappy, distraught and handling his career challenge poorly. He is far from alone. There’s a reason teams have psychologists on staff. The players are often dealing with multiple issues that individually would have many of us in bed refusing to leave home.

Pro athletes are supposed to be and act invincible, when the truth is they are some of America’s most vulnerable creatures. They have been prepared to be gladiators, human ATMs and little else.

Reerun_KC
09-13-2008, 11:58 PM
So is Whitlock going to write an article on VY every single day?

Tribal Warfare
09-14-2008, 12:04 AM
So is Whitlock going to write an article on VY every single day?

Hip Hop and its degradation on the NFL doesn't get the much wanted acclaim anymore

T-post Tom
09-14-2008, 01:47 AM
Cry me a fckng river. We have thousands of young men and women that are Vince Young's age (and younger) living, fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stupid fckng article. Note to Star: wasted ink and bandwidth.

Count Alex's Wins
09-16-2008, 10:37 PM
I loved this article and loved the personal confession from Whitlock. That took balls. I can't imagine what it would be like being 29 and getting blindsided professionally the way he did. A lot of his peers probably thought he was a punk back then, too.

triple
09-16-2008, 10:42 PM
he's right about Young, but why can't he write an article without mentioning Sarah Palin?

DaneMcCloud
09-16-2008, 11:27 PM
Cry me a fckng river. We have thousands of young men and women that are Vince Young's age (and younger) living, fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stupid fckng article. Note to Star: wasted ink and bandwidth.

Thanks, Walter Sobchak.

Isn't this the Sports Section?

Dumb**** much?

DaneMcCloud
09-16-2008, 11:27 PM
So is Whitlock going to write an article on VY every single day?

Your insight is proving to be invaluable. From Herm to Huard to VY.

This place wouldn't be the same without you.

Please, never leave.

Guru
09-16-2008, 11:55 PM
Uh oh, Dane's on the attack. Guess I better not say, "who gives a shit about Vince?"

DaneMcCloud
09-17-2008, 01:01 AM
Uh oh, Dane's on the attack. Guess I better not say, "who gives a shit about Vince?"


Go ahead.

I don't give a shit about him either.