New Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall will always battle premonitions and misconceptions about his character. It's inevitable for a player who has had so many run-ins with the law over a short but already prolific career, filled with blemishes as ugly as alleged spousal abuse. But during Marshall's introductory press conference in Chicago, the Bears' prized offseason acquisition came off as smart, well-spoken and undeniably thoughtful. It was as impressive a press conference as I've seen from an athlete.
Marshall was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder a year ago and has been at the forefront of raising awareness for mental health ever since. This weekend, during a heart-wrenching period in the NFL marred by the suicide of future Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, Marshall wrote an excellent op-ed for the Chicago Sun-Times on the hazards of NFL toughness.
Here's a selection:
As I began to meditate more on Junior’s death, I began to think about this vicious cycle our world is in. The word ‘‘validate’’ started to run through my mind.
The cycle starts when we are young boys and girls. Let me illustrate it for you:
Li’l Johnny is outside playing and falls. His dad tells him to get up and be strong, to stop crying because men don’t cry.
So even from the age of 2, our belief system begins to form this picture. We are teaching our boys not to show weakness or share any feelings or emotions, other than to be strong and tough.
Is that ‘‘validating’’?
It's a great read throughout. Kudos to the Sun-Times for giving Marshall a platform.