September 10, 2008
Yesterday, The Corner had an item about Vince Young and some things happening in his life that sort of made it seem like he was depressed. No one could confirm it, it all seemed to be third-hand information, and there was no way to know for sure. Maybe Young was going through something. Maybe he was fine.
He's not fine.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean discovered some more details about the last couple of days in Young's life, and there was a great deal of concern about him even before he went "missing" for four hours on Monday night.
After Young balked at having the MRI on Monday, Fisher went out and talked to him at his Brentwood home, spending over an hour with him. The Titans also sent a psychologist, Dr. Sheila Peters, and Tina Tuggle, the team’s Director of Player Development, to meet with Young to try and encourage him.
The psychologist said Young was extremely depressed and expressed concerns to the team about Young’s safety. Later, Young left the house and sped off in his Mercedes Benz without his cell phone. He couldn’t be found for some time, which prompted a phone call to Fisher.
The Tennesseean talked to Young's mom, too. She didn't paint a picture of a guy who you'd describe as "fine."
Felicia Young said her son has grown weary of all the negativity he faces as an NFL star. On Monday, he indicated to those around him he didn’t want to play football any more.
“Vince has gone through a whole lot as a young person,’’ Felicia Young said. “And I think he has done pretty well up to this point. But it is hard, all he is going through right now. He’s hurting inside and out.
“But he will be fine if people are prayerful and help my baby boy out. He is a young man. He just needs a lot of love and support.’’
“What would you think, if you were tired of being ridiculed and persecuted and talked about and not being treated very well, what would you do? What kind of decision would you make?’’ Felicia Young asked. “He may not want to deal with it (all), but you have to get to that point before you make that decision first."
It's important to note, too, that there are still those who say that everything's been blown way out of proportion. Jeff Fisher still says that the concerns about Young's well-being were unfounded. A friend of his says everything was fine, and that Young was just watching football and eating chicken wings when he went "missing." Young's agent says that Young is just fine.
At the same time, a psychologist diagnosed him as extremely depressed, and his mom says he's "hurting" and that he's talking about not playing football anymore. Choose to believe whoever you want, but his coach, his friend, and his agent all might have something to gain from preventing Young from being portrayed as depressed.
By the way, I feel perverse for knowing any of this. It feels like Young's privacy has been shredded (and if he has a hard time dealing with constant judgments of his performance on the football field, imagine how this feels to the guy). The details of another man's mental health are not my business. But they're out there. They're public knowledge knowledge at this point. It's not like I can ignore them.
I really don't know what can be said here. For some people, living in the spotlight is easy. Others feel like they're being constantly judged, even in front of small and non-threatening crowds. That can be tough or impossible to deal with.
You just have to hope that Young makes the decision that brings him the most peace in life. Maybe that's persevering in the NFL and putting up with attention that he can't stand. Maybe it's getting out and finding a different line of work more suited to his personality. Wish him the best.
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