Junior Seau Found Dead. Unbelievable.When this blogger thinks of Junior Seau, words like “macho” “hitter” “player” “linebacker” and “Charger” come to mind, for I can’t think of the man they called “Junior” as anything other than a San Diego Chargers player, even though he played for the Miami Dolphins and then the New England Patriots before retiring. But of all the adjectives, “depressed” was one that never came to my mind. But it’s apparently that depression that reportedly and assumptively caused Junior to take his own life with a gunshot to the chest at point-blank range.
When I first heard of this, I struggled to figure out what happened. Why would this man take his life and hurt so many of his fans in the process? Then, Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg wrote a blog post that seemed to put its finger on the reason. Leigh wrote:
Normally, speculation as to causation would be premature, but these are not normal times. The spectre of head injury and the disastrous lifetime ramifications call for emphatic action. There is a largely undiagnosed health epidemic which has surrounded contact sports at the youth sports, high school, collegiate and professional level and it is a ticking time bomb. For many years a veil of denial has obscured the reality of what the long-term impact of multiple concussions portend…
In other words, the constant hitting of people on the football playing field caused a kind of depression that led to suicide. And much in the same way that Chicago Bears Safety Dave Duerson took his own life.
The news of Seau’s untimely passing at the age of 43 took the Worlds of Sports and of Pop Culture by total surprise. The San Diego Chargers changed its website, adding an extra home page with the words “Junior Seau – 1969-2012” in the title, offered fans the chance to share their thoughts, and issued this statement:
Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family.
Chargers President Dean Spanos said:
“I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now. I’m shocked and devastated. Junior was my friend. We all lost a friend today. Junior was an icon in our community. He transcended the game. He wasn’t just a football player, he was so much more. He was loved by everyone in our family, our organization and throughout the NFL. This is just such a tragic loss. One of the worst things I could ever imagine. My prayers go out to Junior’s family. It’s heartbreaking.”
Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner:
“I have no words to describe the passing of Junior Seau. It is a sad, sad day not only for me, but for the whole sports community. I worked with Junior here and later in Miami. I can tell you no one had more character and true leadership ability than Junior. He brought passion to the game of football that was unmatched. His commitment to charitable causes in the community was inspiring. It was an honor to know him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The San Diego Chargers held a press conference on Wednesday.
The Oakland Raiders, the Chargers’s rivals in the AFC West of The National Football League, said this:
We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Junior Seau. Junior’s great passion, intensity and love for the game were evident every time he stepped on the football field. He was a formidable competitor who left an indelible mark on the game of football. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and the Charger organization.
Junior Seau’s Mom In Tears
The hardest part of this year, 2012, was seeing Oakland Journalist Sanjiv Handa’s mother realize her son was gone, after he passed away of a heart attack at 55 years old. At the funeral, where I talked about Sanjiv, his Mom was calm for a time; then a little bit later, what happened literally hit her, like a ton of bricks.
In the video above, I said that what keeps me going, what has kept me from doing what Junior did in my worst moments, was the realization and reminder that my Mother needs me. That’s why this is so hard to watch: