Masculinity In Sports May Be Overshadowing The Player's Mental State

Masculinity In Sports May Be Overshadowing The Player's Mental State

In an industry where physical labor is deemed as entertainment, how does this affect the player mentally?
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Last week, NBA all-star Demar DeRozan told The Toronto Sun that he is having a battle with depression and anxiety. "It’s one of the things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day,” says DeRozan, “We all got feelings...all of that. Sometimes...it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”

Professional sports has accepted a persona that all of it players and participants are the elite of the human species in the aspect of athleticism.Though their physical strengths are nothing to disagree with, what about their mental state? We look at professional athletes as entertainment before we look at them as individual people. This complicates the viewing experience as fans when we get shown a human to human connection when following sports.

Let us dive into the core and locker room of professional sports. The major sports like the MLB, NBA, and NFL have adopted an identity of masculinity and that no matter the pain and suffering, to make it in the league, you have to tough it out and give the people what they want. Like a man.

In an environment where expressing your feelings could bare a form of humiliation or receive a feeling of regret after expressing said feelings, the need to be masculine, or simply being someone you're not, could lead to a mental crisis.

Former Miami Dolphin lineman, Jonathan Martin, was recently checked into a mental hospital after he went on a tirade on Instagram. He threatened former teammates Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito (pictured above) with a cruel caption stating that, "When you're a bully victim and a coward, your options are either suicide or revenge." The post contained a picture of a shotgun and unloaded shells surrounding the gun.He also threatened his old high school, Harvard-Westlake. This is, of course, being a big deal post-Stoneman Douglas. In 2015 he expressed his life in high school with Twitter and Facebook post saying that as "[O]ne of just a handful of minorities, you learn to tone down your size & blackness by becoming shy, introverted, friendly, so you won't scare the little rich white kids or their parents. "


Back in 2013, Martin claimed to be working in a hostile environment while playing for the Dolphins, saying that he took racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and sexually explicit comments directly from Incognito and Pouncey. The LAPD is currently investigating the matter, but what more can you do for someone who wants help but doesn't receive it? After the incident in 2013, Martin was traded to the 49ers and would then be traded to the Panthers to finally retire from a back injury in 2015.

Another, and possibly the most popular, case of this issue is Johnny Manziel. In this case, Johnny came into the league becoming the next great quarterback. But due to the party life of any superstar, Johnny fell into an abyss full of debt and alcohol. The question presented is why didn't people choose to implement a source of guidance instead of just bashing his decisions?

Recently, Johnny has announced a comeback after being out of the league for more than three years. But prior to this comeback, he went through rehab and therapy to finally cope with his possibly life-threatening lifestyle that consumed him on a daily basis. The problem with the way we documented Johnny's issue is that we turned his pain into entertainment. And we fed off his self-destruction and fueled his monster.

Demar DeRozan and his willingness to be open with his mental health is something that most athletes wouldn't dare do. And I personally respect him for doing so. In high school, I quit the football team after having a concussion and I got a total barrage of hate from my former teammates and even my coaches. Simply because it's a cruel perception that an athlete isn't allowed to show emotion or pain when hurt mentally, only physically. Because if you're hurt physically, you did what you're supposed to do. Put your body on the line for a crowd of people.

I hope that we can eliminate this stupid trend and let players express themselves in any way possible. And to lend a helping hand to those who having trouble expressing a desire to receive the help they need. These aren't just athletes, these are people.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram/ Toronto Raptors

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20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."
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Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

SEE ALSO: How The Term 'Cheerlebrity' Destroyed Our Sport

11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

SEE ALSO: Signs You Suffer From Post-Cheerleading Depression

18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

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Serena Williams Fights Sexism at US Open

The way we treat male and female professional tennis players has to be the same.

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For 14 years I lived in Southern California, a hub for sports like tennis and water polo; many players that eventually sign to play division 1 sports or eventually enter the professional tennis world get their start in the sunny climate of California. Growing up near the greater Los Angeles area meant that I lived near where the greatest female tennis player of all time got her start. It's common knowledge that both Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams have roots in Compton, a blue-collar city in Los Angeles known for its high crime rates.

I had the amazing opportunity of seeing Serena play in 2016 at the BNP Paribas played in Indian Wells, CA. Watching her sure power and her commandment of the court left me in awe. Growing up as a young girl playing tennis practically ensures having Serena as an idol, and I was no different. Naturally, seeing her slammed by critics for her outburst during the US Open earlier this September left me appalled. Set to win her 24th Grand Slam title, Williams lost to Naomi Osaka, the first Japanese man or woman to win a Grand Slam.

The problem that many see as controversial is the treatment of Williams by umpire Carlos Ramos, citing Williams's "verbal abuse" that cost her a game penalty and the point penalty because of a smashed racquet. This especially infuriated me because the male tennis players are frequently celebrated for their emotional outbursts; they are praised for their passion. This incident goes back to the traditional gender roles that we as a society celebrate. When a woman asserts, her dominance, she's bossy. When a man does, he's the man. We as a society accept anger more when it comes from a man than from a woman, and it needs to stop. The first step is recognizing sexism where it happens, which is what Serena did. I am now even more proud to call her my idol.

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