Are We Too Quick to Judge Troubled Free Agent WR Titus Young?
Titus Young is ruining Titus Young, and there's a chance that an untreated Titus Young can't do anything about it.
But before we viciously condemn the 23-year-old or make him the brunt of our jokes, the subject of parody our videos, Twitter accounts and memes, let's pump the brakes.
The condemning has, in fact, already begun, which isn't surprising.
In today's instant-reaction world when many rush to be first to create the wittiest, most inventive and ultimately retweetable and shareable content, sometimes we blindly ignore the seminal aspects of a given matter, regardless of its significance.
If a professional athlete does something humiliating on or off the field or gets into trouble with the law, he's fair game.
That's the standard, accepted and most logical protocol for public figures.
Recently labeled an NFL pariah, the former Boise State star was released from the Detroit Lions following an odd variety of seemingly selfish antics, from a physical altercation with a teammate to allegedly lining up in the wrong place on purpose (h/t Detroit Free Press, subscription required) during a game against the Green Bay Packers in 2012.
Titus Young's mugshot from his arrest Friday night in San Clemente, Calif. twitter.com/jkatzenstein/s…— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) May 12, 2013
Then, a series of tweets from Young, including one that read "like I said I never been selfish but if I'm not going to get the football i don't want to play anymore," reinforced questions about him.
He was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Rams but was released shy of his 10th day with the team.
After being arrested two times in a 15-hour span and a third time the same week, Young certainly was bound for widespread mockery and ridicule as the latest self-absorbed, immature professional athlete with a criminal background.
But just when he was ready to be placed into that classification by society once and for all, a new development surfaced.
This excerpt from an article by Dave Birkett of Detroit Free Press explains the eerie downward spiral Young's father noticed in his son:
At one point, Richard Young said he and Titus were talking when Titus laid on a bed and said, “Daddy, I don’t know what’s going on with me.”
“He said, ‘I don’t feel good.’ He just started crying,” Richard Young said. “He said, ‘I just don’t feel good. I’m not myself, I don’t feel good, Dad. I don’t know what’s happening to me.’"
While Young had been undergoing periodic counseling and, according to his father, was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Seroquel, Richard Young—who said he thinks Titus’ problems stem from a concussion—said Titus wasn’t taking his medicine regularly.
However, it's widely believed that an abundance of information is yet to be discovered on the frightening topic.
Young could be the newest former professional football player-turned-victim of serious and life-altering brain damage that can induce severe depression, loss of memory and social awareness and erratic impulsive actions.
It's easy to make light of his numerous missteps and abrupt unraveling from Calvin Johnson's on-field complement to repeat lawbreaker.
But we should proceed with extreme caution and sensitivity with Young's situation.
While it may take time for him to be properly diagnosed—and nothing may arise to definitively support his father's claim—the possibility that Young's turbulent and rather peculiar behavior was caused by a mental disorder which materialized from head trauma is precisely why we shouldn't be so quick to judge him so harshly.
In hindsight, the unprecedented frequency in which he was being arrested probably should have raised some eyebrows in the first place, right?
Typically, we assume a player with a checkered past has deliberately ruined his life.
Due to his potentially atypical circumstance, before more is known, let's try to be considerate with Titus Young, because there may be nothing deliberate about his actions.
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