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?

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. 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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Mid-Major College Basketball Team Stuns NCAA Tournament Favorite, Top Overall Seed Virginia

It’s the most hyped up, exciting time of the year for sports fans. That’s right, it’s the 2018 NCAA Tournament. This weekend, a handful of power conference and smaller conference college basketball teams took the basketball courts in eager anticipation for a chance to survive and advance toward winning a national championship. However, for top seeded teams, it is also the one opportunity for small, mid-major conference teams to make a name for themselves on national television and become villains to those filling out their brackets.

This has been the case so far. Already, two 13 seeded NCAA men’s basketball teams, the University of Buffalo Bulls and the Marshall Thundering Herd, did damage to every college basketball/sports fans’ brackets, respectively pulling off wins over Arizona and Wichita State, respectively. March madness is alive and well.

But just when the tournament couldn’t get any more wild and crazy, it did last night. The top seeded Virginia Cavaliers, coached by Tony Bennett (not to be confused with the legendary singer), traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the America East conference tournament champions the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers. A lot of people counted on Virginia to not only win that game, but to advance to the National Championship and ultimately win it. UMBC punched their ticket to the Big Dance by hitting a game-winning jump shot in the America East tournament final against Vermont. Nobody thought they had a chance.

But the players on UMBC truly believed in themselves and their coach, Ryan Odom. The Cavaliers, best known for their excellent play on defense, found themselves surprisingly tied at 21 at the half. Once the second half began, the game got out of reach. The Retrievers played at a faster pace, with more energy, and kept knocking down two-point and three-point jump shots, while giving the Cavaliers a taste of their own medicine: Virginia was held to 54 points the ENTIRE game! In blowing out Virginia 74-54, UMBC became the first ever 16 seed in the tournament to win against a number one seed. Brackets now are totally busted.

UMBC’s road to the tournament was a strange one. They lost to UAlbany by 44 points earlier in the season, and they clinched a spot in the tournament thanks to a game-winning three point shot over the heavily favored top seed, the Vermont Catamounts. And yet, the team had very high levels of confidence, and didn’t feel phased by the underdog label placed on them. The Retrievers did end up losing to Kansas State in the next round, but their performance against Virginia will be remembered as one of the greatest upsets in college basketball and sports history. Once again, the Retrievers, like the other underdog teams who won, proved that the NCAA tournament is the wildest, craziest, up in the air nationally televised sports event ever. Look for them again next season.

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Jordy Nelson Is The True Packer That Green Bay Will Never Forget

A letter to one of the best to wear green and gold.

This past week, the Green Bay Packers released Jordy Nelson, a truly devastating day for any Packers fan. As what I would call myself, a super fan, I was quite distraught when hearing the news of Nelson's release. Because of this, I have decided that it would be best to get my sadness out through writing an open letter.

Dear Jordy,

The past 10 years have been incredible. Words can not describe how thankful the entirety of Packer nation is to have been able to share the last decade with you. Whether it was coming in clutch during plays, or that infectious smile, you were always able to make your own fans happy, and never disappointed.

When you came into the league, I figured I was around 9 years old. Though your role was not big in your first couple of years in the league, many people knew you'd be destined for some kind of big role on the Pack. As a kid on the playground in 5th grade, I saw your breakout game in Super Bowl XLV and, instantaneously, I wanted to be Jordy Nelson in many games of playground football.

As the years went on, you continued to get better, to the point where you even made yourself into the "got milk?" poster boy all across Wisconsin. Each day in middle school, I remember walking into the cafeteria, seeing a cardboard cut out of you holding milk and would get some milk of my own, just to be like you.

Eventually, you became one of the premier receivers in the NFL, and there was nothing better than watching that Rodgers-Nelson connection week in and week out. In total, we saw you guys combine for 70 touchdowns in your time with the team, while setting team records left and right.

When you tore your ACL in the 2015 season, we were all devastated. It seemed as though you were going to be primed for another big year, and instead, you were forced to watch from the sidelines. However, you did not take this time for granted. You put maximum effort and time into training the young receivers on the team in order to help the squad succeed, and they did.

Following that season, you were your old self, and it was so awesome to have you back. I remember countless "Jordy!" celebrations in my basement on your way to becoming the NFL's comeback player of the year.

Despite a low year this past season, you were still one of the unquestioned leaders on the team, and a teacher to many. Even though you ended up being released, you will forever be remembered in Green Bay.

You define what a true Packer is. You are hard working, humble, and willing to sacrifice for the team. You are unquestionably one of the greatest Packers to ever do it, and even though there was no storybook ending to your time in Green Bay, no one will ever have the same impact that you did.

Thank you for everything, White Lightning, for inspiring kids all over Packer nation, and being a true role model in everything you do. We wish you nothing but the best in your next ventures, and can't wait to see you continue to tear up the NFL.


Packer fans everywhere

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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