It is with great difficulty that I compose these words. I am still morning the sudden loss of a player that I was a huge fan of. Junior Seau was everything a football player should be: He was passionate, was committed to his team and winning, was always trying to improve his game and was a great leader both on and off the field. Many players today would do well to follow his example, at least during his playing days.
What is struggling for me to cope with is how his death is being discussed and written about. People are mourning the sudden death. What I am about to write about is very difficult to say and most probably in bad taste given how sudden this happened, but his passing was not a sudden death nor was it an unexpected tragedy.
Junior Seau's death was a suicide pure and simple. He willingly put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger. He willingly took his own life and orphaned his children.
I am a man of faith, but I do not want to bring my religious beliefs into this. I do not even want to appear as if I am passing judgment on Junior or condemning him in any way. I will pray for his soul and pray or his family to find strength and peace.
But that does not change the fact that Junior Seau committed suicide and because of that, I don’t feel that we should look at his death the same way we look at someone's death due to cancer, a heart attack or an accident. Deaths of those kinds are tragic losses that people have no real control over. Junior made a decision, and I find it difficult to extend the same empathy to him that I would others who have lost their lives.
To those offended by my words, I am sorry, but I feel compelled to write this as a response to all those that are trying to lessen the devastating news of his death by calling it something that it’s not.
The reasons behind his suicide are a different matter and must also be addressed. There is a lot of speculation as to the reason why he chose to commit this act and only time and an autopsy will determine if he did this because of advanced brain deterioration brought on by his time playing football at the highest level possible.
If this is true, and in my uneducated opinion it is, then we have sacrificed another football god to a game that he loved so much. I am so sorry for that part of it and would turn to all of those that scream that football is becoming a game of babies, that they might as well play flag football and blah, blah, blah.
Junior Seau was a hero of mine; this is not how I would ever have wanted his life to end. To those of you that scream for more violence in this game, to let them play rougher or to get the wimps out, how are you going to feel when your favorite player does the same thing because his brain has been beaten to oatmeal? Or when your son is on the ground knocked out with a concussion because you wanted him to play a man's game?
I mourn for the loss of Junior Seau; I pray for his soul and hope that God understands that he was not in his right mind when he made this fateful decision. I also wonder how many more gridiron warriors we must lose before fans accept the dangers not just of playing the game but also of the long-term effects of brain damage that players are exposed to.
You can follow me on Twitter @matt.f.rogers