The more I think about it the more offended I am by how people responded to Seau’s suicide.
I should take a break and explain I honestly didn’t mean this blog to be so Sports heavy to start but it does serve as an interesting place to do some different things. That and with the draft and a few other recent events it’s been on my mind more.
Here’s why I’m offended: the moment people thought suicide was what took his life we started speculating about concussions and it’s ties to depression. Read this article on Slate if you want a discussion of the medicine and reality of pro athlete suicides.
The guy was a fantastic player and honestly one of the best there ever was, he was probably a great guy from what I can tell too. Every account you get of him he sounds more and more like the type of guy you’d want to be around. His death was rather shocking because on some emotional level he seemed like the sort of guy who would live forever. He certainly played for ever, and did so with a great energy. He seemed grander than this, and suicide is a rather ignominious end. He didn’t die a happy old man, didn’t die fighting a chronic disease, he wasn’t even murdered, instead this man who’d seemed invulnerable for so long took his own life, probably because of his own internal pain, and things he was suffering for that we couldn’t see.
I won’t pretend I was shook up greatly by his death. It surprised me, bothered me and made me sad, but I didn’t feel close to tears. I didn’t know the man and it didn’t bother me in that way. I do know some people were shook up by it, part of it is the death of a hero, part of it is you can form a bond with people you don’t know who you watch or somehow connect with. For me it was Terry Pratchett. I still get upset thinking about the fact that an author that talented has early onset Alzheimer. Heck forget the author part, Pratchett has honestly provided me more comfort and happiness than some of my friends. I don’t say that to disparage my friends either, but as a bookish nerd I’ve read and reread his Discworld series so many times my girlfriend is thinking of replacing some books I own for my birthday because I’ve destroyed the binding.
I understand what happened to people who’d really loved Seau from afar (and not in the creepy stalker way) and how it messed them up. And almost instantly it was seized for an issue. It was about player safety, helmet technology, spearing and this massive law suit from former players against the NFL. We need to stop making everything an issue the moment it happens. We need to show some respect for the mourning and the dead. Hell forget the fans, let his family mourn properly.
Next time a tragedy happens, before you look for someone to blame, some cause to tie it to, just take a deep breath and wait, one you might find out it doesn’t fit your issue well and you can avoid mental gymnastics of cramming it in to preserve your ‘rightness’, two you can show some respect to what happened and let it be what it was instead of a testament to how <insert your political/social narrative here>.