O.J. Murdock's Death Bigger Than Football for the Titans

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

A tragedy. (Photo courtesy Facebook via Voxxi.com)
A tragedy. (Photo courtesy Facebook via Voxxi.com)

Whoever wrote that "suicide is painless" is a fool.

Whenever someone takes his own life, it leaves wounds deep in the hearts of those left behind.

The tragic passing of Titans wide receiver O.J. Murdock is not a football story. It feels wrong to even refer to him as "Titans wide receiver," as if that one small aspect of his life is the only thing that defined his time on Earth.

Whatever it was that troubled the young man enough that he apparently took his own life is part of his own private story that, unfortunately, is now public.

To try to analyze why Murdock took his own life would be callous. There's no point in drawing associations with other recent NFL deaths like that of Junior Seau. Other than that they shared a profession, there's no reason to compare the two men.

There's no way to guess what impact this will have on the men who make up the Titans football team. I don't even like calling them the "Titans" in this context, because that implies that they will have some kind of "group reaction" to the terrible events.

I lost a teammate, a coworker who took her own life a few years ago. I've seen people who were close to suicide struggle with grief, and I've seen people who only barely knew the victim do the same. There's no one way that the players and staff will respond. They'll each process the loss differently.

If that seems like shallow analysis, it's not.

Some things are beyond explanation and reason. Some in the Titans family are wounded to their core today, and others probably never met Murdock. Someone might have known he was suffering, and others had no idea what he was going through.

Anyone who has ever suffered through depression and thought seriously about suicide knows that there's a dark irrationality inside all of us. Whether you want to consider Murdock's pain as spiritual, physical or social doesn't matter.

What does matter is that his pain has ended, but those he left behind will heal slowly, and only after years, if at all.

Murdock's life ended too soon and left behind a void and questions that shouldn't be examined just because we are curious or because he wore a jersey for a team we like.

The Titans lost a teammate and a friend. The world lost a bright, young man with a full future ahead of him.

Let's mourn the second more than the first.


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