Depression is a real thing. Millions of Americans suffer from it, some worse than others and some longer than others, but to be certain, depression is not something anyone should take lightly. We can argue all day about whether or not there are enough places or people from which to seek help from but we can all agree that help exists. Sometimes however it doesn’t just come up and introduce itself to you.
In the case of the now suspended Martavis Bryant, the issue of depression has emerged but that isn’t why he has been suspended for one full year. He’s been suspended because he violated the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy… Again. He didn’t just fail his urine tests either. He didn’t show up to take them and in the eyes of the NFL that is the equivalent of a failed test, as it should be.
If Bryant was truly suffering from depression as his agent has claimed then I have to ask why he didn’t seek help from the organization. The answer most will fire back at me is this; people suffering with depression often don’t know they have it and therefore don’t know how or where to look for help. I can’t argue that, but Martavis Bryant isn’t ‘Joe Citizen’ walking the street though. This is a guy with tremendous access to things most of us will never have.
We must remember that NFL franchises today in 2016 are far more than just football teams. They have their own security. They have their own doctors, therapists, counselors, dietitians, financial advisers and so on. They are literally cities and communities unto themselves. In other words, there is no shortage of places that Bryant could have turned to for help. Instead, he chose to use marijuana to deal with his depression.
The problem is that the NFL does not allow marijuana use period. If Bryant didn’t know this then we all should just throw our hands in the air and give up. How couldn’t he know? He’s already been suspended for it! NFL organizations (and the league) go to great lengths to educate their players on just about every facet of life these days from how to act on the field to off of it yet Bryant somehow wasn’t receiving this message.
There’s only so much a franchise can do and what they do is far more than they are probably required so where is the guilt on the part of Bryant? It troubles me to see so many rushing to defend him. This doesn’t mean I don’t want him to get the help he needs but let’s stop the nonsense that he is a ‘victim’ in this. How many opportunities did he need? How many more times does he need to be told what is allowed and what isn’t? How much more often does the organization have to suggest he hang out with different individuals?
Yes, depression is real and I’m not suggesting that it isn’t but Bryant has no one to blame but himself for being in the position he’s in today and whether depression was part of that I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s time for him to take stock in his life and then worry about his football career. If he can’t get the first part straight then the second won’t ever matter again.
Photo courtesy cbssports.com