On Vince Young, Depression, and the Media's Inability to Shut Their Mouths.

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst ISeptember 13, 2008

OK, I know that I’m talking about it, but I didn’t break the story.  I certainly wouldn’t be discussing this at all if it weren’t already out there, as I have a little more respect for a person’s privacy, even more vehemently when it concerns a life and death matter.  So you’re right, I am talking about it, as the damage has already been done, and I’ve got a perspective to share.

For those of you who hadn’t gleaned it from the title and my preemptive clarification, I’m talking about what should be the 3,112th (according to google) article written about reports that Vince Young was contemplating suicide, prompting coach Jeff Fisher to send Police on a man-hunt to find him. As if the circumstances surrounding this scenario weren’t bewildering enough, it may be that matters are considerably more serious than most had originally considered.

In the days following up to this revelation there were many reports around the league, including this one from FOXsports columnist Jason Whitlock:

Some people foolishly think it's every black media member's job to assist in the mental and emotional crippling of black youth. We're supposed to blow rainbows up the asses of every black athlete who "makes it" and assure him/her that anyone who utters a word of criticism is a jealous bigot or irrational sellout.

So, no, I'm not surprised Vince Young tried to quit in the middle of Sunday's game after throwing a second interception and hearing boos from Titans fans frustrated by his inability to read a defense or throw accurately. I'm not all that shocked that two days later Jeff Fisher called the police and asked them to hunt down his inconsistent quarterback. I'm not surprised the Titans team psychologist is apparently worried that Vince Young is suffering depression.

Mr. Whitlock went on to make an “I told you so” case that he was “right” when he predicted that Vince Young didn’t have what it took to be a big league quarterback.  Afterall, he said it way back in 2006.

Apparently, Mr. Whitlock doesn’t realize that depression is a serious DISEASE and he might as well be gloating over a case of cancer or MS, as when progressed to talk of suicide, it can be just as deadly.  30,000 per year deadly in the U.S. alone.

Which brings me to my point.  Is this information that we really need to know?  Is our lust for fantasy information, the voyeur’s lens, and the vicarious thrill really progressed to the point that we should be plastering a troubled young man’s depressive hell on every page and screen?  Should we at least allow some time for the hear-say to be sorted out or are we that desperate to get a scoop?

Obviously, the answers to these questions are self-evident.  We DON’T need to know this information, particularly because its outsourcing is going to make the situation exponentially worse. 

We HAVE progressed to the point where we think the most intimate details of everybody’s life are absolutely our business, except of course when the camera is pointed in our direction. And we SHOULD allow some time to sort out the facts of this type of case because the innuendo itself has the potential to be so deadly.

I’ve seen this ravaging disease first hand, in my family, in my friends, and in my own head, and I can assure you that there is nothing funny about it.  I’ve seen the brightest, funniest, most-to-offer folks hole up in a basement for years, only to finally end it with an overdose, the noose, or the gun.  These are things I’ve seen.

I’ve inherited a case of depression, and though it pails in comparison to some others, it takes a true warrior to get through it.

I’ve walked around on a knee with most of its major ligaments torn for over a year before it occurred to me to consult a doctor.  I know the stabbing, electrifying pop, of an Achilles tendon tearing in two, I know the strange liberating sensation of excising a digit, and the jolting crack of a major bone breaking.  I know the sickening impregnation of a puncture, and the guitar string snapping a shoulder torn free. 

But I don’t consider those things painful.

Because that pain can fill the void, if only for awhile.

You think you're tough, Mr. Whitlock?  Believe me you’re not.

You think we give a crap that you were right and Vince Young’s case of depression is your glorious redemption?  I for one don’t.

And so it seems like it’s time to pile on Vince Young.  Let’s break this dude.  It shouldn’t be hard, because he’s teetering on the brink.  Let’s bitch about the fact that he’s letting the Titans down, that he isn’t the quarterback that everyone hoped he would be.  Let’s make sure to boo the hell out of him the next time he steps on the field.  Let’s kill him.

Or we could try shutting our f’ing mouths for a moment and give the guy a break.  He’s going to need it. 

I just hope that we don't need our fix more.